Trinidad Rapper Raking in the Dough from Uptown Funk
Trinidad-born rapper Nicholas Williams, better known by his stage name Trinidad James, has scored thousands in royalty earnings to date from “Uptown Funk.” The Atlanta, Georgia-based rapper, who split from Def Jam last summer, has so far raked in at least $150,000 in royalty earnings from the megahit single.
James, whose “All Gold Everything” inspired the song’s hook - “Don’t believe me, just watch!” - gets an eight percent cut of the earnings from the Mark Ronson single.
Trinidad James and Devon Gallaspy were both included on the song’s credits. This was because of its use of the “Don’t believe me, just watch!” chant from James’ 2012 hit “All Gold Everything.”
The writers of The Gap Band’s 1979 anthem “Oops Up Side Your Head” (band members and brothers Charles, Robert and Ronnie Wilson, keyboardist Rudolph Taylor, and record producer Lonnie Simmons) were later added to the songwriting credits in the wake of a claim put forth by publisher Minder Music.
According to Billboard’s analysis of the song’s publishing royalties, “Uptown Funk” has generated $2.7 million in revenue to date. This is split among the song’s eleven credited writers including producer Ronson as well as James, singer Bruno Mars and The Gap Band.
Mars and Ronson create a monster party vibe in this song, starting with the title: “uptown” implies high class (as Prince or Billy Joel could tell you), while “funk” is the rhythm and release. The lyrics are way over-the-top with Mars explaining that he’s so hot that dragons are going into retirement. It’s clever, fun and outrageous, but also meticulously constructed with a mix of rhyming patterns.
Trinidad-born rapper Nicholas Williams, better known by his stage name