Phil Manzanera of Roxy Music has written a piece for Britain’s The Independent on a guitar riff of his that Jay-Z and Kanye West used on their album Watch the Throne.
According to Manzanera, he recorded a mostly instrumental album, K-Scope, in 1978 that included a guitar riff that a friend of Kanye West’s, 88-Keys, found in a used record store and played for the two rappers while they were recording their album. A slowed down sample of the riff was used on the track No Church in the Wild which ended up being the first track on the album. As Manzanera said “so the first thing you hear on Jay Z and Kanye’s album is my riff, and yet they probably don’t even know who I am.”
Since that time, Manzanera has kept track of the riff finding it in the Denzel Washington film Safe House, a Dodge commercial and the movie The Great Gatsby. Now, the riff has taken on legendary status with people teaching it (wrong according to Manzanera) on YouTube videos and on Spotify where the once very obscure song has now had 57 million his.
Manzanera went on to say that Jay-Z and West owe him “six figures plus” although it doesn’t sound like he is expecting the money anytime soon.
I’m owed six figures. 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.”
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