Why Rick Ross Is Suing LMFAO

Rapper claims "Everyday I'm shufflin'" ripped off "Hustlin'"

January 2, 2014 5:55 PM ET
Rick Ross
Rick Ross
Shareif Ziyadat/FilmMagic

Rick Ross is suing LMFAO for copyright infringement, claiming the refrain "Everday I'm shufflin'" from the duo's 2010 chart-topper "Party Rock Anthem" rips off the Bawse's own lyric, "Everday I'm hustlin'" from his 2006 single "Hustlin,'" according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Learn the Story Behind LMFAO's Song "Party Rock Anthem"

"The use of 'Hustlin" in 'Party Rock Anthem' is readily apparent, despite the slight change from 'Everyday I’m hustlin'. . . 'to 'Everyday I’m shufflin'. . . " and constitutes, inter alia, the creation of an unauthorized derivative work," the lawsuit reads. To boot, the suit, which was filed in a Florida federal court, states that LMFAO's performance of the lyric is similar to Ross' making it "an obvious attempt to capitalize on the fame and success of 'Hustlin."

Ross and "Hustlin'" co-composer Jermaine Jackson (not of Jackson 5 fame) are seeking an injunction and maximum statutory damages from LMFAO. While no figure was given, the damages could amount to a substantial amount considering "Party Rock Anthem"'s massive sales figures (it's sold 7.5 million copies to date) and its use in various films, TV shows, video games and advertisements; the phrase in question has also appeared on T-shirts and other items in LMFAO's Party Rock Clothing line.

Rick Ross Sued for Not Paying His Rolex Bill

The news of Ross' suit, interestingly enough, comes on the heels of a judge throwing out an appeal of a case filed by the actual gangster and drug kingpin, "Freeway" Rick Ross, who claimed the rapper, real name William Leonard Roberts, stole his name, as The Los Angeles Times recently reported. Back in March, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge threw out the suit, claiming the former gangster had no case. And while another judge opened up the case on appeal, he ultimately decided to dismiss it on First Amendment grounds, ruling that while Roberts had borrowed elements of Ross' real life to construct his persona, they were ultimately "transformative" and didn't comprise his entire hip-hop identity.

"We recognize that Roberts' work – his music and persona as a rap musician – relies to some extent on plaintiff's name and persona," Judge Roger Boren wrote. "Roberts chose to use the name 'Rick Ross.' He raps about trafficking cocaine and brags about his wealth. These were 'raw materials' from which Roberts' music career was synthesized. But these are not the 'very sum and substance' of Roberts' work."

As for his own music, Ross (the rapper) recently released "The Devil Is a Lie," a new single with Jay Z set to appear on the Maybach Music Group honcho's upcoming record, Mastermind. The record was initially scheduled to hit shelves back on December 17th, though its now set for an early 2014 release.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next

blog comments powered by Disqus
Around the Web
Powered By ZergNet
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“San Francisco Mabel Joy”

Mickey Newbury | 1969

A country-folk song of epic proportions, "San Francisco Mabel Joy" tells the tale of a poor Georgia farmboy who wound up in prison after a move to the Bay Area found love turning into tragedy. First released by Mickey Newbury in 1969, it might be more familiar through covers by Waylon Jennings, Joan Baez and Kenny Rogers. "It was a five-minute song written in a two-minute world," Newbury said. "I was told it would never be cut by any artist ... I was told you could not use the term 'redneck' in a song and get it recorded."

More Song Stories entries »