Photos: Instagram, Getty Images
Drake‘s new motto might as well be “Pay me, bitch” following his effort last week to claim a cut of Walgreens and Macy’s profits from products bearing the “YOLO” acronym he popularized. The Young Money rapper used his Instagram account to shame Walgreens — not for selling YOLO hats for a meager $6 apiece — but for taking what he believes is his and stamping a cap with it. “You gotta chill or cut the cheque” he wrote. We don’t blame Drake for wanting a piece of what he created, only he may lack valid trademark protection in the acronym. Just as Nintendo was able to trademark the phrase “It’s On Like Donkey Kong” even though Ice Cube had opened his 1992 song “Now I Gotta Wet’cha” with the phrase.
So, maybe no dice for Drake if he actually proceeds with legal action. Check out four other cases where rappers fought over a “trademarked” phrase or acronym.
Ryan Lochte vs. MC Eiht and more
Flavor of summer and notorious dumbass Ryan Lochte made waves outside the swimming pool last August when he filed an application to trademark the catch phrase “Jeah!,” which Lochte said in 2009 means “like, almost everything … Like, happy.” He continued, “Like, if you have a good swim, you say, ‘Jeah!'”
Incredibly, three other people/entities have some claim to the phrase, including rapper MC Eiht (photographed at right) who told TMZ he created it in 1988. Eiht said he doesn’t even want money, just credit. “Why try and trademark something his ass didn’t even create? I am mad that he isn’t giving me proper recognition for taking my saying. He is just disrespectful.”
Lochte actually said that Young Jeezy‘s “CHEA” inspired his version, yet proper accreditation for the rapper is the least of problems: The company JEAH Communications, LLC has actually held a trademark for the phrase since 2002, but only to protect “Hosting the web sites of others on a computer server for a global computer network,” not for use on apparel as Lochte intends to use it. This battle is ongoing… Who knew Lochte would become involved in something so complicated?
Trey Songz vs. Dave Hester of “Storage Wars”
Photo: Getty Images
Proving that commercial use of any word or phrase can spur a battle, Trey Songz and Dave Hester of A&E’s “Storage Wars” wrangled over use of the word “YUUUP!” last year. After Songz’s attorney ordered Hester to cease using it during auctions on the show, Hester sued Songz, alleging his version of the word “resembles an animal-like or nonhuman squeal which begins with a distinct ‘yeeee’ sound before finishing with a squeal-like ‘uuuup’ sound.” Eventually the pair settled out of court before further painful dissection of a simple three (to five) letter word.
50 Cent vs. Taco Bell
Photo: Getty Images for BET
50 Cent has a charitable goal of feeding one billion African children but he wasn’t down to let Taco Bell feed its gordita-lovers and stoners using his name/trademark for nothing. In 2009, Taco Bell jokingly tried to drum up publicity for the low-cost items on its menu, by publishing a letter it sent to 50 requesting he change his name to 79 cent or 89 cent to promote the items. Yet the chain didn’t ask him permission for the endorsement or even tip him off, leading to a lawsuit and eventually an undisclosed settlement. But if there’s pictures circulating of hungry African children eating chalupas, you know why.
Juvenile vs. DJ Jubilee
Photo: Jason Campbell/MTV
Known in the courts as Positive Black Talk Inc., et al. v. Cash Money Records, the dispute between native New Orleans rappers Juvenile (pictured) DJ Jubilee concerned the phrase “Back That A** Up.” Juvenile filled in the blanks with ZZ on his lucrative 1999 track while Jubilee used the more traditional spelling on his much less popular track “Back That Ass Up.” Ultimately a jury agreed with the defendant, Juvenile, that the songs were “substantially different” and used different hooks. When the rappers left the building that day, Juvenile and his entourage blasted the song in open court and told Jubilee and his lawyer to “drop that s*** like it’s hot.”*
*This only happened in our heads.