Jay-Z, Kanye settle copyright infringement suit

Soul singer Syl Johnson gets paid after rap moguls illegally sampled his 1967 song

Apparently they were a little too focused on watching the throne and a little too lax about making sure all of their samples were cleared before dropping another hit record.

Rappers Jay-Z and Kanye West settled a lawsuit brought by singer Syl Johnson yesterday for sampling his song “Different Strokes” on the duo’s “The Joy,” which was released last year on the immensely popular “Watch the Throne” album.

According to reports, West allegedly had tried to clear use of Johnson’s 1967 Top 20 song for his 2010 solo album, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” but was unable to get a deal done in time.

Johnson says his song has been legally sampled more than 50 times, and he’s been paid each time. He also is well-versed in filing copyright infringement cases, having previously sued Michael Jackson, Jefferson Airplane and Cypress Hill.

Details of the settlement were not released. The lawsuit, which was filed in Illinois federal court, has now been dismissed.

For more on Johnson, read NPR.

Contributing Author

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