Johnson filed a complaint at a federal court on Friday in Illinois, which alleges that the dynamic duo sampled a portion of his 1967 hit Different Strokes on the Throne deluxe-edition song The Joy.
Johnson claims the song was sampled without his permission and he was not credited in the album’s liner notes.
The allegation of copyright infringement was first raised in late August, when archival record label and publisher the Numero Uno Group which was erroneously credited as the song’s publisher in the Throne — threatened a lawsuit on Johnson’s behalf.
The suit further suggests West originally attempted to sample the tune on his My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy solo album, but was unable to get clearance in time to use it.
Given that history, the suit alleges Yeezy’s decision to use the sample on another album without permission is an example of “knowing” and “willful” misappropriation.
The funky blues song has long been a favourite among rappers, including the Wu-Tang Clan and the Beastie Boys – with Johnson previously suing other hip-hop acts in the past to get paid for the use of his music.
The suit seeks to impound all the copies of Throne and requests a full accounting of sale and publishing money, along with punitive damages.