Jay-Z and Kanye West have settled a lawsuit brought last October by ’60s and ’70s R&B star Syl Johnson, who alleged the duo used a sample of his 1967 song “Different Strokes” without permission. The rappers and their co-defendants (including Island Def Jam and Universal Music Group) settled out of court with Johnson, leading the case to be dismissed before going to trial.
The “Strokes” sample was used on “The Joy”, a bonus track featured on the deluxe edition of the rappers’ 2011 album “Watch the Throne”.
In his lawsuit, Johnson reported that West had previously been denied permission to lift the sample for a track on his last solo effort, 2010’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy”, only for it to later show up on “The Joy”.
As previously mentioned, this is not the first time Johnson has sued a high-profile musical act; his lawsuit against Southern California rap group Cypress Hill, for their alleged illegal use of his song “Is It Because I’m Black”, dragged through the court system for 15 years before finally being dismissed in 2008. Artists including Michael Jackson and Jefferson Airplane have also been the targets of legal action by Johnson.
No details of the settlement, which was first reported by TMZ, were made available.