Syleena Johnson, daughter of legendary soul singer Syl Johnson, has addressed her father’s lawsuit against Jay-Z and Kanye West, who allegedly sampled his 1967 single, ‘Different Strokes,’ without his permission on ‘The Joy,’ a bonus track on their joint LP, ‘Watch the Throne.’
Syleena, a Grammy-nominated singer in her own right, appeared on Sirius XM show Sway in the Morning last week to discuss her father’s lawsuit, which she claimed was not targeted at Jay and Kanye, but rather at the song’s producer Pete Rock, and the record labels associated with ‘Watch the Throne,’ Roc Nation, Roc-a-Fella and Def Jam.
“It’d be cool if everybody would stop saying, ‘Your dad is suing Kanye,’ because I don’t really feel like that’s the case,” Syleena explained. “It’s not necessarily that Kanye did the record … It’s to my understanding that Pete Rock did the beat, but of course it looks cooler to say, ‘Oh, Syl Johnson is suing Kanye and Jay-Z.’ Jay-Z probably doesn’t even know anything about the beat!”
This isn’t the first time a scenario like this has played out, nor will it be the last. Ca$h Money Records seems to be rackin’ up similar lawsuits at a prolific rate, Eminem was sued by a French jazz artist in 2002 and quite frankly the list goes on and on (and on).
This particular lawsuit, which was inspired by archival soul-funk label the Numero Group, who were mistakenly credited as Johnson’s publisher in the ‘Watch the Throne’ liner notes, states that Kanye had previously attempted to clear the sample for his ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’ album, but was unable, and instead tacked it onto ‘Watch the Throne’ as a bonus.
Meanwhile, Kanye and Jay-Z will finally kick off their Watch the Throne tour on Oct. 28, in Atlanta.