The rap group responsible for creating one of hip-hop’s most enduring samples claims they have been getting jerked for years.
Rappers Bugs Can Can and Triggerman aka The Showboys recorded for legendary Hip-Hop label Profile Records, in the early ’80s.
In 1985, the group signed a deal with Profile and the label’s publishing company Protoons.
The deal called for Protoons to collect and receive any and all monies derived from the exploitation of the music The Showboys recorded for Profile and pay them 50% of the sums actually received by Protoons in the United States with respect to the exploitation and use of their music.
Between 1985 and 1986, The Showboys recorded a batch of records for Profile, but the ones that were released commercially were “Cold
Frontin’ Composition”, “Drag Rap,” “That’s What I Want For Christmas”, and “The Ten Laws of Rap.”
Out of all of the records, the 6-minute song “Drag Rap” was an instant hit in New York and throughout the South when it was released in 1986. The record is credited with being the foundation for the Bounce rap genre that emerged in New Orleans and Memphis in the early 1990s.
The record went on to have a life of its own. “Drag Rap” has been sampled in at least 175 different by various artists including Three 6 Mafia, Lil
Jon, Lil Wayne, T.I., Drake, Chris Brown, Gucci Mane, Megan Thee Stallion, and others.
And “Drag Rap” is still being sampled. Chris Brown and Young Thug sampled a portion of it in their smash single “Go Crazy” and they graciously gave The Showboy’s writing credit.
The Showboys just filed a lawsuit seeking at least $1 million, claiming Protoons has been filing lawsuits against artists who have sampled “Drag Rap,” and cutting them out of their portion of the settlements, which includes publishing interests in other, popular songs.
“Protoons has also failed and refused to provide copies of any other sample licensing agreements or settlement agreements that Protoons entered into in connection with the Recorded Compositions. Upon information and belief, Protoons has acquired copyright interests in other works in a similar manner,” a complaint reads.
Some of the big records they have not received payment for include Drake’s smash “In My Feelings” and “Go Crazy” by Chris Brown and Young Thug.
And, The Showboys claim Protoons has banked good money licensing the song to TV shows like “P-Valley” and the Netflix series “The Evolution of Hip-Hop,” but the company never bothered to tell them – or share the proceeds.
“Despite the longevity and widespread use of their works and the Recorded Compositions, The Showboys never received the money rightfully due to them from Protoons. Protoons was obligated to
provide Plaintiffs with accurate semi-annual royalty statements relating to the Recorded Compositions. Protoons has failed to do so.”
The Showboys say Protoons deliberately underreported the royalty statements and when they protested, the publishing company threatened them by vowing to withhold all of the payments due to them.
Thankfully, the copyright to “Drag Rap” will revert to the group in May of 2021, when the legendary record turns 35. But even then, The Showboys claim Protoons is attempting to strong-arm them into re-upping on their agreement.
The Showboys are suing Protoons for at least $1 million for breach of contract.