Two brothers claim they were improperly denied writing credits on the song.
Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts” is a major hit more than two years after its release, but the song is also coming with some major headaches for the Minneapolis singer. A pair of Lizzo’s former collaborators claimed in an interview with The New York Times today that “Truth Hurts” uses portions of the melody, lyrics, and chords from a song they wrote together in 2017.
Brothers Justin and Jeremiah Raisen say they wrote a song titled “Healthy” in collaboration with Lizzo, Jesse St. John, and Yves Rothman in April 2017. They shared a clip of the original song on Instagram alongside “Truth Hurts,” revealing that both songs share the famous “DNA test” line as well as other similarities.
“After reaching out to Ricky Reed and Lizzo’s team about fixing it, we put the song in dispute in 2017 when it came out,” Justin Raisen wrote on Instagram. “We’ve tried to sort this out quietly for the last two years, only asking for 5% each but were shutdown every time… The last thing we want to do is throw any negativity toward Lizzo’s momentum and movement as a cultural figure. If we believe in what she’s preaching, believing in ourselves & our own voices is something we thought she’d understand.”
In a statement to The New York Times Lizzo’s legal representative Cynthia S. Arato denied the brothers’ claim to a percentage of the song.
“The Raisens are not writers of ‘Truth Hurts,’” she said. “They did not collaborate with Lizzo or anyone else to create this song, and they did not help write any of the material that they now seek to profit from, which is why they expressly renounced any claim to the work, in writing, months ago.”
“Truth Hurts” is already a point of controversy due to its famous opening line, which many people have noted seems to reference a 2017 tweet by singer Mina Lioness:
Lioness has expressed frustration about the apparent use of her tweet, which Lizzo copyrighted and has used on merchandise.
The Raisens claim that the line was directly inspired by Mina’s tweet. “A meme of that came up in our writing session & inspired the lyric and melody we wrote together,” Justin Raisen wrote. “If Ricky and Lizzo’s team decide to settle this dispute with us, we would like to share some of the proceeds with Mina for her influence on ‘Healthy.’”
Arato noted that while the song did originate from this writing session, Lizzo’s camp takes a different view on the Raisens’ contribution, since “Truth Hurts” uses the “DNA Test” line and vocal melody but not the underlying beat that the Raisens created. They say the Raisens were not involved in creating any elements that ended up on “Truth Hurts,” and that their publisher Kobalt rescinded a copyright claim earlier this year.
It’s worth noting that producer Ricky Reed made no mention of a pre-existing song in a recent episode of Genius’ Deconstructed series, although it’s unclear what he knew about “Healthy”:
The brothers have been pushing their version of events on social media for several months, and contacted Genius following the publication of this Deconstructed episode to claim that Ricky Reed’s version of events was “dishonest.”
Catch up on all the lyrics to Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts” on Genius now.