Hayes confirmed that he was not notified of the song's release (it's now available on iTunes) or recording prior to Billboard's inquiry -- in fact, he hadn't even heard the song. "I don't want to think that these people just went on their own to sample our music without any notification to us," he says.
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The singer had only heard about the track like the rest of us: through the grapevine. "A friend of mine said that he had heard it some place [presumably sometime during the song's early leak]," Hayes told Billboard. "He said, 'I just heard this song, he was sampling your song.' I said, 'Sampling what song?' He said, 'When I heard it, I said oh, wow, that's the Persuasions! That's Mr. Jimmy!'
"One of the guys in [The Persuasions] was telling me that we talked to somebody from Jamie's camp a few years ago over in England during a concert," Hayes continued. "They were talking about how they had an artist who was interested in the Persuasions, that he liked the Persuasions' music, and was interested in maybe doing some rap along with one of our songs, in sampling."
But Hayes hadn't heard anything since. A rep for Jamie xx was contacted but did not reply with a statement by press time.
Hayes makes it clear he's not against the idea of being sampled, though. "I like the idea of the younger artists going back in time and dealing with what they call 'old-school,'" Hayes says. "It doesn't bother me that they wanted to sample, but the thing is we have to sit down with management and make sure that everything is recognized and on the up-and-up."
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"I would like to hear more of that -- younger artists going back," Hayes says of sampling. "Like the Roberta Flack song [The Fugees, "Killing Me Softly"] -- I love that. That's beautiful.
"Listening to ["I Know There's Gonna Be (Good Times)"]," he added, "I had some people here, at my house. When I played it, they were listening to it, like 'Wow, that's cool -- I like it!' And then one brother said 'Whoa!' I said, 'What did he just say then?' He said, 'He said what you thought he said.' I said, 'Wow...times have changed, man!'"
[For reference, here's one of Young Thug's lines: "I'ma ride in that pussy like a stroller."]
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The lyrical content was what surprised Hayes most about the single. "When we did this song ["Good Times"] we were singing about this one particular lady that you wanted to be with," he says. "Everything is gonna be alright -- I ain't got no money in my pockets, they don't jingle, but as long as we can get together everything is gonna be alright. We're gonna have good times."
There are no hard feelings on the Persuasions' side, though. "I'd like to meet the guy!" Hayes says. "I'm sure these guys are gonna be going on tour soon. If they're going on tour, I'd like to go out with them. I'd like to be the opening act. We can do that same song on the stage, live."