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Lizzo's 'Truth Hurts' Hit With Plagiarism Claim

Songwriting brothers say they're responsible for key line
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 16, 2019 7:21 AM CDT
Lizzo performs in concert during her "Cuz I Love You Too Tour" at The Met on Sept. 18, 2019, in Philadelphia.   (Photo by Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP)

(Newser) – There's a battle raging over Lizzo's anthem "Truth Hurts"—the second longest-running No. 1 hit tied to a female rapper, with six weeks atop the Billboard's Hot 100 chart, per Forbes. As the New York Times reports, two songwriting brothers lay claim to a signature lyric of the song "appearing in online memes by everyone from teenage TikTok users to Hillary Clinton." Justin and Jeremiah Raisen say they were working with Lizzo on the song "Healthy" in April 2017 when someone pulled up a meme reading, "I did a DNA test and found out I'm 100% that bitch," and Jeremiah suggested the line be used in the song. Five months later, the brothers say they were shocked to find a similar line, "I just took a DNA test, turns out I'm 100% that bitch," in "Truth Hurts," which is credited to Lizzo (Melissa Jefferson), Ricky Reed, Tele, and Jesse Saint John.

"There was a bittersweet emotion, because deep in our hearts we know that we were a part of this song," Jeremiah tells the Times. The brothers have each sought 5% of the songwriting royalties, though their claim could go deeper as Lizzo has applied to trademark the phrase "100% That Bitch." A lawyer for the singer, however, says the brothers "did not help write any of the material that they now seek to profit from, which is why they expressly renounced any claim to the work, in writing, months ago." The Times reports they rescinded an earlier claim to "Truth Hurts" through their publisher, Kobalt. Still, they cite a musicologist as saying the song "would not exist in its present form without the existence of and the borrowing from 'Healthy.'" The singer whose tweet inspired the meme has also complained about a lack of credit, per Rolling Stone. (Read more music stories.)

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