Chris Martins writing for Spin Magazine, put together a piece on Jonwayne’s Cassette, published March 21, 2013. Marlboro Threatens Stones Throw, Jonwayne Hits Back with Awesome Sarcasm

“We can no longer take an enormous market away from such a grassroots company. It was fun while it lasted.”

On Tuesday (March 18), Los Angeles hip-hop bastion Stones Throw revealed that Philip Morris had hit the label with a cease-and-desist for parodying Marlboro’s packaging in a recent release. The offending product? A cassette-only, 24-minute rap tape (actually called Cassette) by unsung MC/producer genius Jonwayne — the kind of dude who names songs “Bukowski” and brags about his virginity.

“We had no grand plans,” wrote Stones Throw in a post that also included a scan of the letter sent by Morris’ legal team. “It was just a low-profile release, maybe a nod to two things going out of style – tapes and lung cancer.” The label is accused of “infringing use of [Marlboro’s] ‘distinctive font’ and two registered U.S. trademarks: their insignia, and the pyramid shape. They own that shape.”

They’ve been ordered to discontinue and stop selling the limited release, which was almost all sold out anyway, and to destroy the remainder. SPIN spoke to the tape’s designer Jeff Jank, who said, “We never gave it a second thought. It was just the kind of thing I’d do on my own tapes back when I was a kid. So the Philip Morris letter was certainly unexpected, but it felt kind of like winning a Grammy.”


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