If the latest round of accusations is true, Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts” is more than merely a chart-topping smash—it’s the byproduct of some carefully calculated theft.
Pitchfork reports that producer Justin Raisen took to Instagram to air out his grievances with the Cuz I Love You singer and was kind enough to include receipts.
“On April 11th, 2017, we wrote a song called ‘Healthy’ w/ Lizzo, Jesse St John, and Yves Rothman at our studio. ‘I just took a DNA test turns out I’m 100% that bitch’ was taken from ‘Healthy’ and used in ‘Truth Hurts’. We were never contacted about being credited for the use of the parts of ‘Healthy’ (melody, lyrics, and chords) that appear in ‘Truth Hurts’. After reaching out to Ricky Reed and Lizzo’s team about fixing it, we put the song in dispute in 2017 when it came out. We’ve tried to sort this out quietly for the last two years, only asking for 5% each but were shutdown every time,” Raisen wrote.
He added, “Coming forward publicly to family, friends, artists, and colleagues seems to be the only way at this point in relieving some of our emotional distress caused by this. The last thing we want to do is throw any negativity toward Lizzo’s momentum and movement as a cultural figure. If we believe in what she’s preaching, believing in ourselves & our own voices is something we thought she’d understand.”
He then goes on to mention that the inspiration behind the lyrics came from a tweet by singer Mina Lioness, and expressed his desire to ensure she’s compensated as well.
“Shout out to the singer Mina Lioness for tweeting ‘I just did a DNA test turns out I’m 100% that bitch,’” he wrote. “A meme of that came up in our writing session & inspired the lyric and melody we wrote together. If Ricky and Lizzo’s team decide to settle this dispute with us, we would like to share some of the proceeds with Mina for her influence on ‘Healthy.’”
In 2018, Lioness came for Lizzo herself, tweeting: “Now everyone believes those were your words, when in fact they were mine. My creativity, my wit and my comedy.”
As to be expected, Lizzo’s team maintains that no such theft ever occurred. They provided the following statement to the New York Times:
“[Justin and Jeremiah Raisen] are not writers of ‘Truth Hurts.’ They did not collaborate with Lizzo or anyone else to create this song, and they 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.”
More importantly, the Raisens reportedly retracted an earlier claim over the song through their publisher, Kobalt, which could prohibit their ability to seek proper credit or compensation moving forward, though copyright law might be their saving grace.
“Copyright law says that if a work is created and it’s clearly the intention of all the people who contributed that it’s merged into a whole,” Don Gorder, chairman of the music business and management department of the Berklee College of Music in Boston, told the New York Times. “That they are all equal owners of the song unless they agree otherwise.”
And with “Truth Hurts” under strong Grammy consideration for both record and song of the year, its lyrics “You’re supposed to hold me down, but you’re holding me back” have proven to be prophetic.
Hopefully, all parties involved will be able to come to an amicable agreement because one thing is for sure—the Lizzo train ain’t slowing down any time soon.