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TikTok Rapper Trefuego Ordered To Pay $800K Over Sample Clearance Leave a comment


TikTok rapper Trefuego, who has cultivated a dense online following, has been slapped with a crippling bill from Sony Music after the label discovered that he sampled an obscure Japanese song without obtaining their permission.

Court documents obtained by Billboard reveal that the MC (real name Dantreal Daevon Clark-Rainbolt) used a chop from Toshifumi Hinata’s 1986 song “Reflections” to create his viral track “90MH.”

The multinational music company had been trying to find Trefuego prior to filing the lawsuit, but were unable to do so. Finally, in August 2022, the label filed a takedown request with the social media giant, prompting the lawsuit.

US District Judge Mark T. Pittman confirmed on Wednesday (March 27) that the social-media personality now owes Sony a grand total of $802,997, which covers both the profits he earned and the licensing fees he’d have pay if the song was cleared.

In addition, the TikToker was ordered to pay royalties to the label moving forward, including a 50% cut of publishing revenue and a 20% cut of recording revenue, plus all legal fees and costs.

“The court hopes this case will serve as a $802,997.23 lesson for defendant in carefully selecting the materials included in his raps,” the judge wrote in his ruling.

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The popular social media app’s relationship with the music industry has been anything but smooth, especially in recent months.

Back in October, Jermaine Dupri took to Instagram to talk about the current state of Hip Hop as he insisted that how people within the culture stop giving ideas away so freely to social media platforms.

“I was just watching this video that Issac Hayes Jr. posted with JAY-Z talking about the culture giving away the culture to these apps,” he began. “And then we have to go to these apps and ask for shit that belongs to us. And I thought about me because Tik Tok muted one of my videos recently.”

He continued: “It’s my music, with my voice on it, and I gotta ask these n-ggas to unmute me, right? That’s bullshit. And in my Hip Hop 50 resolution, one of my Hip Hop 50 resolutions was that, we can’t keep going for this type of shit. We gotta give a fuck.

“I also saw a video where somebody said they was disappointed in the BET Hip Hop Awards because the lack of participation. I grew up in an era where Jimmy Iovine gave a fuck. Andre Harrell, rest in peace, gave a fuck. Puff gave a fuck. Russell Simmons gave a fuck. Lyor [Cohen] gave a fuck. Kevin Lyles. All of these guys. They gave a fuck.

“Now, we in an era where don’t nobody give a fuck. Who gives a fuck. Nobody cares.”


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