According to Numero Group, a non-binding clearance deal was arranged by email with Island Def Jam last year, but when the deluxe edition plans fell through, the label group stopped responding to emails and phone calls. Even though the song had not yet been commercially released, both Numero and Johnson considered legal action, which they ultimately decided against, reasoning that West would eventually need to clear something else from their catalog and could use this incident as leverage.
Now it looks like Johnson may pursue a lawsuit after all. At the end of the Numero Group post, the label says that the singer was "nearly in tears" on the phone discussing the matter. "Island Def Jam seems to think that Syl doesn't have any fight left in him. We're betting otherwise," the label wrote.
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Photo by Robin Little/Redferns
- Syl Johnson
- Island Def Jam