Haters gonna hate, players gonna play, and karma’s gonna karma. Taylor Swift is facing a $42 million lawsuit over lyrics from her 2014 smash, “Shake It Off.”
According to the New York Daily News, R&B artist Jesse Graham, whose real name is Jesse Braham, is suing Swift for $42 million, claiming that Swift lifted lyrics from his 2013 song, “Haters Gone Hate,” for use in the chorus of 2014’s “Shake It Off.” Specifically, Graham alleges that Swift stole the lines “Haters gonna hate, players gonna play.” Those lines do appear in Swift’s song, of course, though the two songs bear little other resemblance to each other. (For comparison, both videos are embedded below.)
“Her hook is the same as mine,” Graham told the Daily News. “If I didn’t write the song ‘Haters Gone Hate,’ there wouldn’t be a song called ‘Shake It Off.’
Graham goes on to claim that he noticed the similarity between the two songs months ago after he saw Swift perform on Ellen. He then allegedly attempted to contact Swift’s camp in order to ask for a writing credit and (because this is the age we live in) a selfie with Swift herself. In addition to the $42 million, Graham is still asking to be credited as a writer on “Shake It Off.”
It should be noted that earlier this year, Swift notoriously filed trademark claims on key phrases from her 1989 album, including “this sick beat” from “Shake It Off.” Graham may not have much of a case — although that remains to be seen — but it’s there is a smack of “what goes around comes around” karma to all of this. Swift(‘s legal team), after all, sent cease-and-desist letters to fans selling handmade merchandise bearing those phrases which, inarguably, existed in pop culture long before 1989 was ever released. Listen to both songs below and decide for yourself whether Graham’s case has any merit.