Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera is claiming that Kanye West and Jay-Z owe him money after sampling one of his tracks on their collaborative album Watch the Throne.
The two rappers sampled Manzanera’s 1978 song “K-Scope” on their 2011 track “No Church in the Wild.” However, NME reports, Manzanera is alleging that he has not yet been paid for the use of the sample. In an interview with The Independent, Manzanera said that West and Jay-Z did ask his permission to use the “K-Scope” sample, though he was not sure how they found the obscure original track.
“Even I had completely forgotten about that track, so I wondered how the hell did they find this riff from this obscure album? I looked into it and I found a film on YouTube of Jay Z and Kanye recording in a hotel suite in New York,” said Manzanera. “There’s a guy called 88-Keys who is friends with Kanye West and he looks round record shops, digging through old bits of vinyl. I think he was going through the bargain bin of a vinyl shop and came across it.”
About the sample, the guitarist also said, “The genius thing is, they slowed it down. What nobody knows is that it’s not just a guitar playing. I’ve got this huge harmonica: it’s about a foot long and you blow this one note along with the first beat of every bar and it creates this weird sort of slightly sinister riff. When it’s slowed down, that combined with that guitar low note creates this very special sound.”
Manzanera still maintains that he is owed royalty money from West and Jay-Z’s use of his music.
“I’m owed six figures,” Manzanera told The Independent. “Six figures plus, which is more than I’ve made in the past 15 years with Roxy. I haven’t got paid yet but it really reassured me about all of my beliefs, why I’m doing what I’m doing and the power of music. Things come and go – fame, fortune – I’m not interested in that. I just do what I do because I love music but it felt like someone, somewhere up there in the ether, has said: ‘You know what? You’ve been doing stuff for ages, had ups and downs – you can have that now.'”
This isn’t the only controversy surrounding Kanye West recently – shortly after he was announced as headliner at Glastonbury 2015, more than 50,000 people had signed a petition against the idea. Meanwhile, West’s appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live at this year’s SXSW Festival in Austin didn’t end up happening, to the disappointment of fans.