‘We Did Not Pay’: SWV Reveals Surprising Detail About Using Michael Jackson Sample for Their Hit Song ‘Right Here’

Not everyone is on the canceling Michael Jackson train, including legendary R&B group SWV. Tamara “Taj” Johnson and Leanne “Lelee” Lyons chatted with TMZ Live Thursday, and when asked if they’re going to play their hit track “Right Here (Human Nature Remix)” during their “Verzuz” battle against R&B group Xscape, the ladies both said “absolutely,” and “of course.” 

The song is a sample of Jackson’s 1983 classic “Human Nature.” 

Recording artists Leanne Lyons, Tamara Johnson and Cheryl Gamble of SWV attend the grand opening of “SALT-N-PEPA’S I LOVE THE ’90s – THE VEGAS SHOW” residency at The Paris Theater at Paris Las Vegas on October 25, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Roger Kisby/Getty Images)

“I haven’t heard anything recently, and that’s one of our top 5 hits, and we were one of the first artists who he allowed to use his sample,” said Johnson. “That song has done great things for us. You will hear it. Matter fact, you might hear it three times,” she added. 

Lyons confirmed that they didn’t even have to pay for the sample. “He gave it to his homie Teddy Riley (music producer), who gave it to us,” Johnson added. 

Jackson’s legacy is shrouded in controversy after several allegations of child sexual abuse throughout the years before and after his passing in 2009. While MJ has never been found guilty of anything he was accused of, it divides people on whether they want to support the “King of Pop” and his music. 

Nonetheless, it looks as though SWV will go forward with playing their hit record with MJ’s sample regardless of how others may feel about the late superstar. On Johnson’s personal Instagram page, she expressed excitement over the performance later this evening. 

“Show Off & On Tonight by @officialswv. Bout to suit up for that @verzuztvbattle Tonight💪🏾,” she captioned her post. 

Michael Jackson performs in concert circa 1986. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

Fans in the comments section also expressed their excitement about the battle of the R&B diva groups.

“I’m so ready…going to be one of the best Verzuz. Love Xscape but TEAM SWV ALL DAY!!! Can’t wait!!!”


“🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥 I’m so ready 💯.” 

“😍😍😍😍😍 I wouldn’t miss tonight for nothing in the world.”

“Let’s gooo .. have big fun, do ya thang 🙌🏾💫👏🏾👏🏾🎉👑.” 

You can tune into the “Verzuz” battle between Xscape and SWV tonight (May 8) at 8 p.m. @VERZUZTV on Instagram. 

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