Wayne replaced the track with “Pussy Monster” in response to a lawsuit.
When Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter III was released 11 years ago today, it included the STREETRUNNER-produced “Playing with Fire” as the 14th track. Before the year was over, however, Wayne opted to replace the song with “Pussy Monster” in response to a copyright lawsuit filed in July by Abkco Music Inc., a music publishing company which owns the rights to The Rolling Stones‘ classic, “Play with Fire.”
According to Reuters, Abko Music Inc. accused Wayne, his artistic collaborators, and his record company of copyright infringement and unfair competition. The publishing company said “Playing with Fire” is a clear derivative of the Rolling Stones song, with the original lyrics and music altered in a recognizable way. Abkco Music also said that Wayne’s version uses “explicit, sexist, and offensive language” and could lead the public to believe the company and the Rolling Stones approved of and authorized the new version.
Abko Music was alluding to Betty Wright’s chorus on the track, when she sings:
So you’ve got so many diamonds
You wear all the finest clothes
And your grill is shining
As you’re driving down the streets of gold
But you can’t blame me
If I set this stage on fire!
For comparison, “Play with Fire” features The Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger singing:
Well, you’ve got your diamonds and you’ve got your pretty clothes
And the chauffeur drives your car
You let everybody know
But don’t play with me, cause you’re playing with fire
In a 2017 interview with DJBooth, STREETRUNNER revealed that the original version of “Playing with Fire” included a sample of a “Play with Fire” cover by frequent George Clinton and Parliament collaborator Ruth Copeland that they couldn’t clear.
“There was a vocal that I used but I found out that the sample wasn’t clearable, so we took a writer and we had him come up with lyrics that could work,” STREETRUNNER said. “And then Betty Wright re-sang the lyrics and gave it that soulful, haunting feel that makes the record.”
This explains why Wayne swapped “Playing with Fire” out for the David Banner-produced “Pussy Monster” without putting up a fight. The Young Money boss settled the Abko Music lawsuit in January 2009 for an undisclosed sum.
Listen to the album , and read all the lyrics to Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter III on Genius now.