Jay-Z, Kanye West sued by songwriter

By Kim Palacios

hollywoodnews.com: In a suit filed in an Illinois U.S. District Court on Friday, musician Syl Johnson alleged that rappers Kanye West and Jay-Z pinched one of his songs. Specifically, Johnson’s suit accuses the music moguls of sampling his 1967 song “Different Strokes” in their recent collaboration “Watch the Throne.”

But, according to Johnson, there’s more than simple unauthorized usage at play—he says the pair had asked to sample the song for a different track for West’s album, “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” but Johnson denied them. Pieces of “Different Strokes” allegedly showed up later in the song “Watch The Throne.”

It gets more complicated. The filing states that the defendants claim that rights to use the track were granted lawfully from an entity called the Numero Uno Group, who Johnson now says had no authority to grant these rights. However, it seems that rights to “Different Strokes” had been granted to other artists previously. Michael Jackson, Kid Rock, and Wil Smith have all used the song in the past.

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About Kim Palacios

Kim Palacios is a San Francisco Bay Area transplant whose epicurean tendencies are matched only by her wanderlust. While not covering food, wine, and luxury travel for her column on Examiner.com, she guest writes for Travel Writers Exchange and a number of other varied-topic blogs. She is quadrilingual and holds an M.B.A. in Finance (neither of which she uses much these days). While not mourning the death of free markets and grumbling about the tax treatment of Californians, she enjoys film, and all things Twilight.

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