• Dennis Howard

We Run Things-Things Nuh Run We

Updated: Apr 5




In 2018, dancehall deejay Flourgon took American pop star Miley Cyrus and her record company to court, accusing them of copyright infringement of his song we run tings. The 1980s-dancehall deejay accused the singer of copyright infringement, claiming that she used "the hook" of his 1988 song 'We Run Things' for her 2013 hit song 'We Can't Stop.'

. The suit asked for 300 million, which a federal judge reduced before it proceeded to court.




The parties settled the case out of court in 2020 for an undisclosed amount, which caused considerable stress for the deejay in Jamaica.




The case was possible because Flourgon had registered his song in the United States, proving he was the songwriter. This case brings us to another issue in the Jamaican music business. The importance of copyright registration and the practice of using popular urban phrases in song lyrics. "we run thing, things no run we" was a popular saying in Jamaica in the 1980s and 90s. Flourgon was not the first artist to write a song with the same lyrics and melody. Several recording artists used the line after Flourgon made the phrase even more popular with his song.


Here are some of the songs that used the popular phrase;

A We Runs Things - Johnny Osbourne

Recorded in 1988 and produced by Coxsone Dodd, this song did not use the same melody and attempted to match the digital vibe that was hot at the time.




We Run Thing - Red Dragon

Red Dragon is the bother of Flourgon and recorded this version for the movie Third World Cop, but the song failed to capture the hearts of dancehall fans due to its crossover vibes. Hence it was not very popular and did not receive adequate airplay and sound system play.




We Run Things - Nitty Gritty

Produced by Witty promoter of Uptown Mondays, this recording preceded Flourgon's version by one year. The song was recorded at HCF studio in New York, hence the shout out for several New York-based artists.



We Run Thing (it's Like Dat) - Da Bush Babees Underground hip-hop collective Da Bush Babees borrowed the phrase for their 1994 song, 'We Run Things (It's Like Dat)' appearing on their album 'Ambushed'. In the song, they used the melody repeatedly. They had a dancehall vibes deejay style in the song with reference to reggae music. The group is from Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, so this explains the Jamaican influence.



We Run Things- P Nyne In 2013 new age reggae artist P Nyne took on the phase in his song, 'We Run Things'. The track is a mashup of hip hop, dancehall, dub and sound system samples. The recording song used the same lyrics and melody with fresh lyrics from the one beat up and comer.




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