Published Mar 24, 2015Roxy Music guitarist Phil Manzanera has revealed in a new column penned for the Independent that Jay Z and Kanye West have failed to pay up for sampling one of his songs.
The hip-hop heavyweights borrowed a riff from Manzanera's 1978 song "K-Scope" on the duo's 2011 Watch the Throne track "No Church in the Wild," though according to the guitarist, he's yet to be paid for his musical contribution.
Back in 2011, the Roxy Music axeman got a call from Roc-a-Fella informing him that Jay and 'Ye were planning to sample his track. His initial reaction was that the label guys had confused him with Ray Manzarek from the Doors (which is apparently a common occurrence), but after having the riff played over the phone, Manzanera recognized it as the aforementioned "K-Scope" — a solo track he penned during a Roxy Music hiatus.
If the song isn't ringing a bell, don't fret — even Manzanera barely remembers writing the thing. "Even I had completely forgotten about that track, so I wondered how the hell did they find this riff from this obscure album?" he writes.
"I looked into it and I found a film on YouTube of Jay Z and Kanye recording in a hotel suite in New York," he continues to explain. "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."
The version that appears on Watch the Throne is slowed down, making "this huge harmonica" that Manzanera was playing sound like what we all though was the album's opening guitar riff. Manzanera thought the sonic trickery was "genius."
As for the money, the guitarist says he's owed a lot, but isn't particularly concerned about getting paid any time soon.
"I'm owed six figures. Six figures plus, which is more than I've made in the past 15 years with Roxy," he writes. "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.'"
You can read the full anecdotal article over here, and compare the original track with Jay Z and Kanye's interpretation in the players below.