Famed record producer Appietus has denied allegations of unlawfully appropriating royalties belonging to Hiplife group 5Five and threatened to take alleger Papi to court.
Tuesday, January 17, 2023, 5Five founding member Papi appearing on CTV’s Class Showbiz alleged that Appietus had, without the group’s knowledge and permission, uploaded to digital stores five songs the group had recorded at the sound engineer’s Creative Studioz.
The illegality had been happening since 2013, Papi said.
He only found out in 2022 when a digital marketer he consulted with to promote his music, as a solo act, asked about his group’s old songs and why they were not online for consumption.
Together, they found out Appietus’ company had five of the songs on three separate compilations on the digital streaming platforms (DSPs).
The rapper told Class Showbiz host Sammy Flex that they approached Appietus about it but the record producer denied any knowledge of the act and promised to speak to distributor Africori about it and revert.
Later, they asked Appietus for bank statements covering the royalties he had been “chopping” or spending as he had proudly said on a recent Citi TV interview “without knowing the source.”
They also asked for information to review royalties from Apple Music but the record producer was yet to get back to him and former 5Five manager Bullgod.
The group 5Five was most vexed about their biggest hit ‘Muje Baya’ being on Appietus’ compilation.
According to Papi, he and 5Five member Killy paid for the 2010 song to be produced and recorded at Appietus’ studio. Gino, another member of the group had downloaded the beat to be sampled for the song from the internet at Papi’s request. It was the beat for South African DJ Cyndo’s ‘Amerido’.
Papi admitted that during the 19-year existence of his 5Five music group, some songs were recorded on barter basis at Appietus’ but not ‘Muje Baya’, ‘Hm Ah’, ‘Bossu Kena’ and ‘Just Stop’. He also argued that even though ‘African Girlz’ was done by barter, by definition, Appietus had no right to upload it for royalty collection.
Appietus was phoned up by the Class Showbiz crew for his side of the story.
He denied the allegations and threatened legal action for defamation.
He indicated that only ‘African Girlz’ and ‘Tikolon’ were barter songs.
He challenged Papi to mention the amount he paid for ‘Muje Baya’. Papi did not. He only asked, “How much do you charge?”
The exchange spiralled into insults and profanity.
Papi asserted that ‘Muje Baya’ “made” Appietus the star he is in the industry.
Appietus claimed 70 per cent of the songs they made together were successful because of him.
Appiah Dankwah, alias Appietus, he claimed Papi and co “concocted a lie to tell. The truth is, Papi, his group and Bulldog, they’ve never paid for studio fee [working with me].” Ask Papi right now how much he paid me. Ask him if indeed he paid for ‘Muje Baya’. Everytime it was barter because they didn’t have money. They’d beg me sometimes. They’d ask me along when they are going to play shows. They have used me.”
“They knew the song has been online all this while but they knew they owe me so they never came [to ask me about it]. They waited for some years and now that he is bringing his song out, he wants to destroy me and use it to as leverage,” Appietus asserted on the phone.
“I’ll take him to court. Papi, you called me on phone and swore that you paid me. If you paid me, Papi, no problem. How much did you pay and where’s the receipt that you and Killy paid me?” he asked.
“I’ve taken this on because of defamation of character,” he noted. “At the time, you couldn’t pay me, Papi, you couldn’t pay so everything was barter. Everything was me showing you people love and giving you my friend’s contact but after some time, I realised I had become a fool. The songs became hits but you did not give me any money so I needed to put them online and make my money. No, you say I am a thief. I won’t say anything to you. I’m taking you to court. I was not smart to put the songs online, you would have totally used me. You and Bulldog never paid me because you made up your mind not to. Today, you are lying that you paid me.”
He asked Papi if he had the wherewithal to pay him, adding: “The Lumbas and Ofori Amponsah’s would pay me because they had the money at the time. You had nothing but I made everything for you and Bulldog. All your biggest hits, I made them for you and I put myself [on the records] because I wanted it work; I knew there was no money [at the time] but when the money [eventually] came, I knew, we were all going to spend it. Look at me now. Today, you’re TV insulting me. When we go to court you have to prove everything you’ve said because I have so much evidence against you.”
He stressed the case will be settled in court and charged: “‘Muje Baya’ was released without my permission. You played shows with the song and gave me nothing. They didn’t pay for a master copy [of the song]. What we did barter for is theirs, what we didn’t do that for is mine and I can put it online to make my money.”