Marvel Alexander, the New Jersey-based artist who co-produced A$AP Ferg's 2013 hit "Shabba," claims he and the song's other producer Snugsworth were each given a $500 advance for the song's instrumental by RCA Records, Ferg's label. He was inspired to speak out by a BeatStars interview with Wiz Khalifa producer E. Dan, who claimed that record labels are calling albums "mixtapes" in order to avoid paying producers fairly.
"RCA did this to me and @snugsworth on Trap Lord," Alexander wrote on Twitter. He wrote that the beat for "Shabba" was sent to RCA Records under the impression that it would be included on a mixtape, and that the label "didn't have the budget" to pay the producers more (Trap Lord was commercially released in 2013 as Ferg's debut album). Read his tweets below.
"Shabba" was a hit for A$AP Ferg, eventually going gold and racking up over 67 million music video streams on YouTube.
Alexander expanded on the situation in an interview with DJBooth on Wednesday. He claims RCA made a "pivot" to releasing Trap Lord as an album and released "Shabba" without his consent. This gave him more leverage over publishing rights, which Alexander negotiated to 12.5% each for himself and Snugsworth (he claims RCA only wanted to give them 18%). "That pissed off Ferg and the label but I didn't care because I knew we were getting robbed of the advance," he says. Alexander also claimed he and Snugsworth split 3% of streaming royalties from "Shabba" in another tweet.
Twitter account @snugsworth, which appears to be held by the co-producer of "Shabba," retweeted Alexander's claims and described their own experiences. "I was homeless about 3 or 4 times while hearing the song playing in cars passing me by on the street."
Representatives for A$AP Ferg and RCA Records were not immediately available for comment.