Looks like soul singer Syl Johnson’s going to take a quick piss over all of the “The Joy” Kanye & Jay have had surrounding Watch The Throne. It seems as if the duo did not clear the use of Johnson’s “Different Strokes” before sampling the track for Watch The Throne’s bonus track. The original song’s copyright holders, Johnson and Numero Group, were shocked to see the song clearly used and credited, but not cleared. And thus, they thanked Jay & ‘Ye for providing them with “a huge pay day,” whether it comes by lawsuit or settlement.
The Numero Group has posted their version of the full backstory regarding the back-and-forth maneuvering regarding Kanye camp’s original attempts to clear the song previously for use on MBDTF, failing to do so and the song appearing on WTT. No way am I going to try and Cliff Note their whole story but it’s worth a read.
Two quick thoughts:
1. The move by Johnson and Numero may seem money-motivated but I can’t blame them one bit. They created material, they own it and they should be compensated for any use of it. Furthermore…
2. If indeed the material wasn’t cleared by The Throne’s team and was being sold beforehand, yeah, they have minimal leverage in this one. The fact that the album sold like hotcakes means Johnson just secured himself financially for a while. Inadvertently perhaps, but I’d take it too if free money fell in my lap.
Cred: Al Lindstrom