Just when you thought it was okay to put away that Stop Snitchin' t-shirt, this happens.
The Lonely Island, Saturday Night Live's comedy-rapping trio comprised of Andy Samberg, Jorma Taccone, and Akiva Schaffer, was the target of a lawsuit filed last week in New York. The suit was carried out by Aleric Banks (aka Rick Tha Rular) and Monique Hines (aka Foxy StarrStrukk), proprietors of Star Strukk Productions, a St. Louis music house that produced select beats for the comedy trio's first album.
Banks and Hines originally began working with Samberg and the Lonely Island crew back in 2008 prior to the release of the group's first album, during which they supplied the master recordings to what would become the SNL digital shorts "Like a Boss" and the Emmy-nominated "Shy Ronnie." The pair apparently received no compensation for their work and received only minor credits on The Lonely Island's Incredibad album. While the couple's lawyers have yet to specify their terms, SNL's parent company NBCUniversal has also been named in the suit.
The comedy world is rife with accusations of other artists copying the work of others. While the original conception of a joke can be up for debate (Bill Hicks vs. Denis Leary, the world vs. Carlos Mencia), the theft of a song or particular beat is a horse of a different color. Though the case only deals with two songs from Lonely lsland's massive catalog, it does take some credibility away from what has been SNL's flagship for the digital age.