The O'Jays Sue Crown Royal Over Big K.R.I.T. Commercial

R&B group says they did not co-sign new Dr. J commercial that samples one of their hits.

Posted: 04/26/2013 02:30 PM EDT

The O'Jays have a $1 million bone to pick with the makers of Crown Royal for unauthorized use of their 1973 hit "For the Love of Money."

Founding members Eddie Levert, Sr. and Walter Williams, Sr. filed a lawsuit, claiming the company's new commercial featuring NBA legend Dr. J is "humiliating" and "demeaning."

Big K.R.I.T.'s "Reign On" is the song actually used in the commercial that shows Dr. J raising a glass to older footage of him balling. The 9th Wonder-produced track samples "For the Love of Money."

Levert and Williams accuse Crown Royal of reducing them to "background singers" for not using the original version, which has been featured in various TV spots, including Donald Trump's long-running reality competitions The Apprentice and The Celebrity Apprentice.

9th explained that song was inspired by Dr. J, "of course," in a behind-the-scenes interview. He said the sample was chosen because "it definitely fits the time," giving the current track that '70s groove.

"It's definitely got a groove to it," Krit said of the song. Lyrically, he said his intention was "to drop jewels about being successful, about being about your family and kind of striving forward through things that may try and tear you down."

Despite the theme and Crown Royal's past attempts to woo urban radio listeners (the brand has teamed up with Big Boi and Jermaine Dupri in the past), Levert and Williams are not impressed. They are seeking a seven figure payout and turned their ire on K.R.I.T., too, calling his rhyme "childish" and calling him a "poseur with limited ability to carry a tune."

 

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(Photo: Chris Connor / WENN)

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