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Syl Johnson, a respected musician who created many successful blues and soul songs in the 1960s and 1970s, has filed a lawsuit against hip hop superstars Kanye West and Jay-Z over an allegedly uncleared sample on the duo’s latest album, “Watch the Throne.”
In a complaint filed in Illinois federal court on Friday, Johnson claims the two famous hip hop artists plus UMG and Def Jam took a portion of his song, “Different Strokes,” used it on a song entitled “The Joy” featuring Curtis Mayfield and released it in August without his permission and without giving him any credit or payment.
Johnson says that West originally wanted to use the sample for his own solo album entitled “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” but that the defendant was unable to obtain permission at the time of release. After failure to clear a license for the sample on one album, West’s use of the sample on another album without permission is said to be an example of knowing and willful misappropriation.