32-year-old pop star Taylor Swift broke into the industry as a precocious 16-year-old country hopeful back in 2006, presumingly raised on MTV’s TRL like the rest of her generation.
However, the Fearless singer apparently skipped over the entire pop era just a few years prior where R&B trio 3LW — a main act on the 2001 TRL Tour headlined by Destiny’s Child no less! — ruled the charts with songs like their debut album single, “Playas Gon’ Play.”
Swift’s admission comes as her 2014 chart-topper “Shake It Off” is being sued by writers of the aforementioned 3LW song who say she stole their lyrics.
Her response? “Until learning about Plaintiffs’ claim in 2017, I had never heard the song ‘Playas Gon’ Play’ and had never heard of that song or the group 3LW.”
The chorus of “Shake It Off” famously starts off with Taylor singing, “‘Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play / And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate.” 3LW’s song from 13 years prior has a similar jingle, which goes, “Playas, they gonna play / And haters, they gonna hate.” The similarities between the two proved to be enough for songwriters Sean “Sep” Hall and Nate Butler to file a copyright lawsuit back in 2017.
More on the details of their case below, via People:
“After a judge decided the lyrics were ‘too banal’ to be plagiarized, the lawsuit was dismissed in 2018 — but an appeal panel relaunched the case the following year. Swift then attempted to have the case dismissed, though a judge claimed on Dec. 9 that both tracks had ‘enough objective similarities’ for the case to continue.
In a new declaration filed on Monday, according to documents obtained by PEOPLE, Swift wrote that ‘the lyrics to Shake It Off were written entirely by me’ and added that the song is ‘about independence and ‘shaking off’ negative personal criticism through music and dance.’
She added that the track’s lyrics drew from personal experiences with ‘public scrutiny’ and ‘negative personal criticism’ and featured several ‘commonly used phrases and comments heard throughout my life.’”
Swift also says that prior to writing her #1 smash, she had “heard the phrases ‘players gonna play’ and ‘haters gonna hate’ uttered countless times to express the idea that one can or should shrug off negativity.” The singer also used the example of wearing a “haters gonna hate” T-shirt from Urban Outfitters in 2013 as enough reason to show the phrase is universal. Her bolder claim to have never seen 3LW “on the radio, on television, or in any film,” especially when Cheetah Girls existed on Disney Channel, definitely feels a bit outlandish.
Ironically touching on the topic of TRL that we mentioned earlier, Swift made a note that her family primarily listened to country, stating, “I did not watch the MTV show TRL, and I did not go to clubs during this time. The only concerts I went to were for country and folk rock singers, LeAnn Rimes, Billy Gilman and Melissa Etheridge.” She later added, “My parents limited what I could watch and listen to, and did not permit me to watch TRL until I was about 13 years old.”
Funny enough, Taylor would’ve been 13 sometime between 2002 and 2003, right around the time of 3LW’s last TRL hit, “I Do (Wanna Get Close to You),” but right before their even more successful Cheetah Girls era. Strange, huh…
What do you believe: did Taylor Swift’s cabin-sheltered upbringing protect her from the “secular” sounds of 3LW, or is she playing up the blonde role to protect herself from legal action? Sound off!
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