Houston – Rapper Mike Jones who went from a fledging rap artist to one of the most popular performers in. the South following the Swisha House release of “Still Tippin’” infringed on lyrics and music copyrighted by Brad Tilford, CEO of Blackstone Entertainment and Houston based music producer Randy “Bigg Tyme” Jefferson, according to a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court, Southern District of Texas located in Houston.
The lawsuit which asks for unspecified damages says Blast Entertainment, better known as Swisha House, Mike Jones, Michael “5000” Watts and Warner Brothers knowingly and fraudulently released the “Still Tippin’” recording that also featured rapper Slim Thug and Chamillionaire based on the recording that belonged to Blackstone and Jefferson without permission. Still Tippin is the signature work on an album entitled “Who Is Mike Jones” that has received significant air time across the nation.
Specifically the beats that Jones has rode to national prominence, “Still Tippin’ on four fours, wrapped in four fours, Pimpin’ four hoes and I’m packing four fours” were written and produced by Jefferson in a local Houston studio.
Before the release of “Still Tippin’” Jones struggled to get air play and was at best a second level rapper. Following the release of “Still Tippin’”, Jones suddenly became one of the most popular artists in the South with a growing fan base in Houston where he and Jefferson developed a relationship selling beats to local artists. “Still Tippin” has cracked most of the top 50 charts and is in regular video and radio rotations across the nation in major markets. Nevertheless Swisha House has not paid Blackstone or Jefferson for using its copyrighted material despite popularity of the album.
In March of 2002, Jefferson, through his company Evolved Sound Corporation and Swisha House, had agreed to joint ownership of all title, interest, including copyright in the masters, the album and the packaging, in an album to be released entitled “The Day Hell Broke Loose”, excluding from its parameters “any controlled” composition written by Jefferson. Evolved and Swisha House were to split profits, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit also alleges before the release of the album, Swisha House sent Evolved a letter on August 7, 2003 that terminated the agreement. The next month Jefferson assigned his interest for “Still Tippin’” to Brad Tilford.
During the year of 2004, Swisha caused another version of the composition, “Still Tippin’” to be made, and attempted to distinguish the new version by mixing in new background musical material, replacing some of that from the Jefferson recording, and slowed the tempo down by approximately one half step.
The company named Watts and Seth Williams as producers. The resulting popularity of “Still Tippin’” led Jones to a lucrative contract with Swisha House and major recording/distribution deal with Warner Brothers through its Asylum label.
Lawsuit, filed by Houston attorney, Warren Fitzgerald, Jr., said Swisha House undermined rights of Blackstone Entertainment as copyright holder by allowing the new version to be commercially released and distributed to the public despite requests by Blackstone to Swisha House to cease and desist from publicly distributing and selling copies of “Still Tippin’”.