First it was French champagne companies wanting nothing to do with the rappers that convinced thousands of U.S. listeners with no business drinking $500 bottles to front like they are VIP and break the bank on bottle service. Now it's Philip Morris, the company with a bigger body count than the number bodies dropped in monthly Chief Keef's radio plays, who wants Stones Throw and Jonwayne to cease and desist on its Cassette design.
The original cleverly appropriated the Malboro label and awakened us to the size similarity of a pack of cigs and a cassette – right infront of our faces! But, Philip Morris caught wind of the design and decided no, designer Jeff Jank is not the Warhol of iconic hip hop design. In a statement on the Stones Throw site, the label lays out just how un-hip hop Philly-Mos truly is:
Last year Stones Throw released new rap tracks by Jonwayne on a cassette we called Cassette – no digital, no CD, no vinyl – just a cassette, designed to look like a pack of Marlboro cigarettes. We had no grand plans. It was just a low-profile release, maybe a nod to two things going out of style – tapes and lung cancer.
Apparently the lawyers for the cigarette and junk food giant Philip Morris aren't hip-hop heads. The makers of Marlboro served the label with a big fat cease & desist letter citing infringing use of their “distinctive font” and two registered U.S. trademarks: their insignia, and the pyramid shape. They own that shape.
We've been ordered to cease from the manufacture, sale, advertisement and distribution of the cassette, and to deliver all remaining copies to an authorized destruction center. (A place where hip-hop gets killed.) Well, we're just about out of tapes anyway, so we're not making any more – get them while you can. No use fighting The Man.
Authorized Destruction Center. That place exists.
Stones Throw is not letting the C&D get them down. They've rallied around Jeff Jank & Mark Pargas once again for Cassette 2, which shouldn't get them in as much trouble since Coca-Cola redesign shirts remain on every beach front novelty shop in America. Cassette 2 is all new music that didn't make the cut for Jonwayne's official debut and features guest appearances from Quelle Chris, Zeroh, and Jeremiah Jae.
Jonwayne just released this statement on Facebook:
Obviously the art for Cassette 2 is less a stand-alone idea and much more a reactionary one. Actually, Cassette 2 is entirely reactionary. The first Cassette was full of material that was recorded onto 8 track using methods akin to an era when people were still making tapes in their house. I hadn't planned on releasing another cassette and intended to leave it alone, but once we got that letter we knew we had to do something. Cassette 2 is full of much cleaner material; songs that didn't make the album due to either sample clearance issues or they didn't fit the upcoming record's aesthetic but that I wanted to come out, anyway. It happened to be an opportunity for some of that material to be heard, due to the exclusive nature of an analogue-only release.
Hold on to those originals, folks. They are officially collector's items.
Order Cassette 2 via Stones Throw.