Artist News

Fiona Apple would quite like some money from Lil Nas X now

By | Published on Friday 27 September 2019

Fiona Apple

Lil Nas X sampled Fiona Apple on a track and now she would like some money. Also, she thinks he’s cute. That’s the news here.

The Lil Nas X sample came up during a new interview with Apple on Vulture. In it she addressed why she had blocked Panic! At The Disco from using a sample of her 2012 track ‘Every Single Time’ for their 2013 song ‘Miss Jackson’. Some people seemingly then questioned why Lil Nas X had received permission to use the same track for ‘Kim Jong’, from his 2018 mixtape ‘Nasarati’. Short answer: he didn’t.

In the interview, she explains that Panic! At The Disco’s request to use the sample came not long after she had given permission for the same portion of the track to be used by rapper Gilbere Forte on his track ‘Pray’ – although in that case her approval only came after the song had been recorded and a video made for the track.

“I ended up giving permission [to Forte] because I didn’t have a choice”, she says. “They’d already used it in a song and video. And then Panic! At The Disco asked, and I was like, ‘Wow, I can’t believe they even asked me’. Usually people just go ahead and use it”.

She adds that she later learned that the band’s frontman Brendon Urie was angry that she’d denied permission when she saw a clip of him being interviewed on YouTube. But, she says, her motive had simply been to ensure that the sample wasn’t overplayed, saying: “I was just trying to not shit all over somebody else’s sampling of my song by doing it twice”.

Which brings us to Lil Nas X. How come he got to use the track? Well, as she pointed out, people don’t always ask. And seemingly this includes the ‘Old Town Road’ rapper.

In a video posted via a fan account on Instagram following the Vulture chat, she says: “One thing that the [Vulture article] didn’t mention that I did say in the interview which I would just like to say now is that Lil Nas X, you’re probably really great, but you used my song ‘Every Single Night’, too … And, um, hey, where’s my money, you cute little guy? Where’s my money?”

Lil Nas X is yet to release his official debut album, with ‘Kim Jong’ featuring on mixtape ‘Nasarati’. It is, of course, standard practice for mixtapes to feature uncleared samples. A blind eye is generally turned to this as these releases aren’t commercially available, and trading mixtapes such as this is a long established way for rappers to build a name for themselves.

Still, while Apple probably does have some legal claim, the tone of her video doesn’t suggest she’s planning to send round the lawyers just yet. And when it comes to commercially released music, Lil Nas X is pretty keen to play by the rules. ‘Old Town Road’ contains a properly cleared sample of Nine Inch Nails’ ’34 Ghosts IV’, and he gave Kurt Cobain a writer credit on ‘Panini’ because it sounded a bit like Nirvana’s ‘In Bloom’ – despite claiming that the melody came to him in a dream.

So maybe he could try sampling Apple again and do things by the book this time, in order to sort her out with a bit of cash. If he hangs on a bit, he could even use a new song, because she reckons she might finally have the follow-up to 2012’s ‘The Idler Wheel’ album ready to release next year.