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Kanye West and Jay-Z Facing Possible Lawsuit for ‘Watch the Throne’ Track

Kanye West Jay-Z
Daniel Boczarski, Getty Images

The chart-topping success of Kanye West and Jay-Z‘s duet album ‘Watch the Throne’ might be short-lived if Syl Johnson has anything to do with it. The legendary bluesman is considering slapping the Throne with a lawsuit for sampling his classic song ‘Different Strokes’ on their tune ‘The Joy’ without proper clearance, credit or payment.

According to an open letter posted by the archival label The Numero Group, they claimed that they were in talks with Yeezy years ago to clear the sample originally for his album ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,’ but nothing came out of it. Then, Johnson frantically called Numero after he heard ‘Strokes’ sample on ‘Watch the Throne’ and the label had a “WTF” moment.

To wit:

“Late last night, we received a phone call from Syl — who was nearly in tears — asking if we knew why The Numero Group appeared in the credits to a new Kanye West/Jay Z album called ‘Watch The Throne.’ We had no idea. The credits mis-identify Numero as the publisher of the sampled song (“Different Strokes”), which of course we are not, and any routine search of the BMI database would show otherwise. Wondering why we weren’t consulted on this new use, and baffled why we appear in the credits, for which we never asked, we contacted the sample clearance house. Even they cannot get a response from their own clients.  Island Def Jam seems to think that Syl doesn’t have any fight left in him. We’re betting otherwise.”

Syl in tears? Come on, now, this is nothing to get choked up about. We’re quite sure it was a simple mistake on Def Jam’s part that could easily be cleared up with a simple phone call and a speedy check to its rightful copyright owners.

Attorneys for Jay-Z and West had no comment on the matter. We guess it’s different strokes for different folks. Let’s hope that the Throne can settle this legal matter quickly so the album can continue its glorious reign atop of the Billboard 200 album chart.

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