Grammy-winning artist Lizzo’s ascent to unfettered pop stardom looked deceptively easy thanks to the unprecedented second life of her 2017 sleeper hit “Truth Hurts.” However, the singer-rapper-flutist began facing backlash from creators once the song floated to the top of the Billboard charts. Her most vocal dissenters have been songwriting brothers Justin and Jeremiah Raisen, who claimed that they were a substantial part of the creative process that led to the birth of the late-blooming smash. Now, per The Hollywood Reporter, the pair teamed with fellow accuser Justin “Yves” Rothman to file a countersuit against the performer, claiming that her most recent collection of Grammys would not have been possible without their contributions, for which they seek credit and compensation.
The suit is in response to a preemptive strike that Lizzo filed in October 2019, denying the Raisens and Rothman any ownership over any part of the tune’s makeup. She did, however, confirm that they were present during a session that was a part of the song’s construction and that the notable line, “I just took a DNA test/turns out I’m 100% that bitch,” did derive from a meme that they found on the internet. (Lizzo has since credited and compensated the meme’s originator, London artist Mina Lioness.) While the men are not attempting to assert credit for the line itself, the countersuit states that “Jeremiah enthusiastically suggested they add this line to the song.”
The document goes on to allege that the five-hour session resulted in the creations of “Healthy”—the purported inspiration for “Truth Hurts”—and “Delicious,” which were made possible thanks to “inseparable and interdependent non-trivial amounts of creative, original, and intellectual expression” between Lizzo, the Raisen, Rothman, and fellow collaborator Saint John. Lizzo would later record a revised version of “Healthy” that, according to Rothman’s manager Ross Donadio, maintained the DNA line as well as “some of the chord progressions, melody in the verse part, and rhythmic cadence from ‘Healthy’ demo.” The report includes an independently obtained musicology report that, after analyzing “Truth Hurts” and the “Healthy” demo, concludes that the former “contains some strikingly similar lyric and musical elements to those in” the latter, including instrumentation and melody.
Lizzo has yet to release a statement in response to the suit. Lawrence Iser, the attorney representing the Raisens and Rothman in this case, said the following:
“Lizzo is a talented musician and performer who currently enjoys immense popularity based on a hit song that she did not write... When the case proceeds to trial, we look forward to sharing the sound recordings, videos, photographs and musicology that 100% prove that collaboration. Our clients deserve their fair share of the recognition and revenue that comes from collaborating on a hit song. From the standpoint of the industry as a whole, a contrary result would make it impossible for working musicians to be confident that they will be properly credited for their work if they get into a studio and create songs with powerful artists.”