Erika Jayne really can’t afford another scandal right now, even a relatively trivial one. Neither financially, nor it terms of her tattered reputation. And while she is legally innocent until proven guilty, the life and persona Erika created seems exposed as a smoke and mirrors situation.
Rewind to the time before Erika and ex-husband Tom Girardi were accused of allegedly embezzling missions from families of plane crash victims, and the duo seemed untouchable. Tom was a high-profile LA lawyer who could maneuver any legal situation, and Erika titled herself the Ice Queen of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. She played up her role within the relationship and equated her power status to his. But now, that illusion is slowly unraveling. And a new potential lawsuit is waiting to hit Erika and her music career.
1980’s hip hop duo L’Trimm gave an exclusive interview to The Sun after accusing Erika of “ripping off” their 1988 hit Cars That Go Boom. L’Trimm’s Tigra and Bunny D said of Erika’s 2018 song Cars, “It’s the exact same hook!”
The choruses of both songs are nearly identical, Bravo and Cocktails pointed out. The Housewives fan account on Instagram compared the lyrics. Erika’s chorus is, “I like the cars, the cars that go boom,” while L’Trimm’s song is, “We like the cars, the cars that go boom.”
Tigra lamented, “And Erika never reached out either of us, and we haven’t seen a penny for it, of course. She never even bothered to shout out L’Trimm or tag us or anything. The least Erika could do is say, ‘Okay, I was inspired by it.’ But to add insult to injury you jack it and pretend that you made it up, like we never existed.”
“The craziest thing I really can’t wrap my head around is that it’s not an obscure song,” Tigra added, “it’s such a well-known song that it’s kind of a part of the fabric of hip hop.”
Did Erika know what she was going when she plagiarized the lyrics? Tigra seems to think so, and she accused Erika of wielding her financial privilege to get away with it. After all, it’s a well know song that was included on Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Hip Hop Songs Of All Time and VH1’s 100 Greatest Songs lists.
Tigra said, “How privileged can you possibly be that you don’t think that people will recognize that you didn’t make that up? Or, that we’d never find out?” Then there’s a question of cultural appropriation. Tigra said there should have at least been some acknowledgement. She opined, “There’s kind of a reckoning, in this time in history with creators of color, Erika should have said ‘Hey, this is their music.’ I’d love to say I’m flattered, since imitation is the best form of flattery, but she never gave me the chance to be flattered, because she never bothered to acknowledge us.”
Bunny added that the song, “was blatantly robbed, and to not reference L’Trimm was shady.” As a fan of Erika on RHOBH, Bunny felt a deeper sense of betrayal for the alleged “rip off” since she was rooting for the star post-separation. ”
“I was actually an Erika fan, and that’s why I’m kind of brokenhearted,” Bunny told The Sun, “I was rooting for her, I saw when she was going through the divorce, and I was like ‘Oh my gosh, my heart is breaking for her.’ I saw she was getting sued. I was like, ‘God bless her heart,’ you know, and then I find this out.’”
Bunny also thinks Erika, used to the power and status that came with marriage to Tom, was unconcerned with potential copyright issues. Bunny opined, “It’s heartbreaking that people just don’t think about other people. And women like Erika don’t think about other women, more importantly, because we’re the underdogs. I think it’s like a double hitter. Women aren’t respected in the music business as it is, and we are minorities. And people are going to think that is really her song.”
Had L’Trimm’s song heavily influenced Erika, then she should give Tigra and Bunny D recognition and compensation. Tigra is still in the music industry, and is well versed on how this situation should have been dealt with. Unfortunately, the girls were 15 and 16 years old when they wrote Cars That Go Boom and do not own the masters.
Tigra explained, “I’m not even sure that we can pursue legal action. It’s just more of like, it’s straight swagger-jacking. I have reached out to see if anyone would want to pick it up pro bono, but so far we’ve been told since we don’t have the original contracts, it’s basically he says/she says.”
It’s essentially a power-struggle. And Erika has the upper hand, even after she separated from Tom. “Of course the people with the most money in the most power are going to always be victors unfortunately,” Tigra said, “So if I was married to a very rich husband, who was also very well-known lawyer…”
But the tide is turning on Erika, and Tigra thinks her grievances are just adding to a list of wrong-doings by the RHOBH star. Tigra explained, “She’s got all this press on her for stealing and the documentary and all of it is coming together. Seeing what these survivors are going through, you know, somebody’s got to stop these people. I’m happy to be able to contribute to putting a stop to it.”
Despite the tone of her interview, Tigra is not affected by the copyright scandal. “I sleep well at night. I feel really good about the fact that I have never stopped making music and my new music is doing great.” She concluded, “I have new stuff coming out and I have a legacy with people that respect our music and what we did back then.”
Trailblazer Tigra is releasing a new single on August 24th called FIREBENDER, which features Dante Basco. Comparatively, Erika’s music career has stalled. The XXPEN$IVE has not released any new material since 2019.
Take a listen to snippets from both songs below:
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