C. Vernon Coleman II

Jay-Z and Kanye West May Be Facing Lawsuit From Soul Singer Syl Johnson


Syl Johnson Claims “The Throne” Track Illegally Uses His Vocal

Heralded Chicago soul man, Syl Johnson is claiming that Jay-Z and Kanye West unlawfully used a sample of his vocals on a track for their album Watch The Throne.

According to Johnson the duo swiped vocals from his track “Different Strokes” for the track “The Joy” found on WTT’s deluxe edition.

The tracks’ credited producers are Pete Rock, West, Mike Dean and Jeff Bhasker.

Curtis Mayfield is listed as a featuring artist.

Johnson claims The Throne camp never got his clearance to use the record.


The Numero Group, a Chi-town company that specializes in re-issuing vintage music, film and photos, claims that Def Jam originally approached them to use the record for a track on Yeezy’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantisy, but no agreement was ever reached, according to a blog post on the company’s website.

The album credits The Numero Group as the publisher of the song, resulting in Johnson not being able to see a dime off the use of his vocals on the track.

“Island Def Jam seems to think that Syl doesn’t have any fight left in him. We’re betting otherwise,” said The Numero Group in a statement.

They also posted this tweet from their official Twitter account:

“Hey @kanyewest & JayZ, thanks for illegally sampling Syl Johnson on “The Joy” and then crediting us(?). Have your lawyers call our lawyer.”

Comment Comments: 2 Tags Tags: pete rock, the throne, the joy, syl johnson

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  • boston

    honestly i listened to both songs and you cant even tell its him. you would probably think it was james brown if you just casually listen to it. but the sample isnt even that big. its literally a grunt. sounds like someone is just trying to get paid and not appreciating good music

  • Wiseguy

    I’m sure this could be worked out easily…..Syl Johnson, is the father of Soul Singer Syleena Johnson. The same Syleena Johnson, that sang on Kanye’s first single “All Falls Down”. West openly credits Syleena has his “safe belt” for stepping in and resinging a crucial part of the song, when Lauryn Hill demanded that her voice not be sampled. The Johnsons and West are from Chicago….Syleena also sang on West produced “Down” for Cam’ron, and Kanye produced “Bulleseye” for Syleena.