Review: Who wrote “Truth Hurts”?

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Suzanne Cordeiro/Shutterstock (10444125aj)
Lizzo
Austin City Limits Music Festival, Weekend 2, Day 3, Texas, USA - 13 Oct 2019

Photo by Suzanne Cordeiro/Shutterstock

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Suzanne Cordeiro/Shutterstock (10444125aj) Lizzo Austin City Limits Music Festival, Weekend 2, Day 3, Texas, USA - 13 Oct 2019

By Jayden Bidle, reporter

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I just took a DNA test; turns out I’m 100 percent not sure who wrote the lyrics to Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts.” Released in 2017, it didn’t hit number one on Billboard Hot 100 until 2019. The song’s popularity should give thanks to the popular app Tik Tok and the Netflix film Someone Great released in 2019. 

A pair of songwriting brothers claimed they deserve to be credited as writers on the chart-topping track over her most famous line about taking a DNA test. In a tweet she posted on Wednesday, Lizzo reiterated that she came across the phrase in a meme, acknowledging that she saw it “in 2017, while working on a demo.” 

Songwriters Justin and Jeremiah Raisen claim that they should receive credit on “Truth Hurts” because a variation of its signature line first appeared in a demo they worked on with Lizzo entitled,”Healthy.” They worked on this demo in an April 2017 studio session with two other songwriters.

Lizzo’s lawyer, Cynthia S. Arato, announced Wednesday that a lawsuit filed in federal court in California seeks to establish that the Raisens and Justin “Yves” Rothman, another songwriter present for the “Healthy” session, have no claim to “Truth Hurts,” as reported by the Associated Press.

However, Lizzo did note in her tweet Wednesday that she was “sharing my success” with the creator of the original meme she claimed to have drawn inspiration off of. British singer Mina Lioness, who tweeted “I did a DNA test and found out I’m 100% that b—-” in February 2017 publicly called Lizzo out for using her original line. Lioness seemed to react to Lizzo’s new tweet by tweeting, “I just took a DNA Test, turns out I’m a credited writer for the number one song on Billboard.

Justin Raisen called Lizzo “one of the most talented people” he has ever worked with. He said it’s in that spirit that he, his brother and Rothman should be credited on “Truth Hurts.” He and his brother have each asked for 5 percent of the songwriting pay. In addition to the lyrics, the song’s “melody was written over the beat that we came up with,” said Raisen.

Song credibility is a dilemma that bands have long had to deal with. What constitutes songwriting? And what differentiates plagiarism from inspiration?

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