Sisqó’s smash hit “Thong Song” should be a lesson in why it’s important to clear samples before releasing a song.
As Genius points out, a recent episode of Vice’s documentary series The Story Of reveals that a majority of the publishing rights for Sisqó’s song are owned by Desmond Child, the writer of Ricky Martin’s “Livin’ La Vida Loca.” While it may seem like an odd connection at refirst, Sisqó does reference the song at the end of all three verses, when he sings: “‘Cause she was livin’ la vida loca.”
“Thong Song” producers Bob Robinson and Tim Kelly apparently cautioned Sisqó about using the interpolation of Martin’s song without clearing it first. But as the story goes, Sisqó confidently told them that he had a relationship with Child, so it wasn’t a big deal. But since no one cleared the reference before the song’s arrival, Martin threatened to sue after it exploded in 2000. The two artists ultimately settled out of court.
“Desmond Child has more ownership of the song than anyone,” Robinson said in the video. “We just gonna have to take the L on this one,” Sisqó added. “Like we just got to pay them for that. So we paid them.”
Elsewhere, the 19-minute documentary discusses Sisqó’s inspiration for the song, which stems from a date he went on with a woman who showed him her thong. Robinson and Kelly also mention that they originally created the beat for Michael Jackson, and when MJ later heard Sisqó’s hit, he wanted to work with the two producers.
Watch the full episode at the top.