Hip-hop producers The Neptunes have denied an accusation they stole beats from an unknown producer for Jay-Z hit NI99A PLEASE - and have threatened legal action against the claims.

The acclaimed duo were astonished when amateur producer JOSEPH ZAKONI levelled the accusation against them on hip-hop news website SOHH.COM, and Pharrell Williams and CHAD HUGO immediately instructed their lawyers to take action.

In a stern letter to the website, lawyer ANNE T AMANN writes, "You are hereby put on notice that these allegations, which you published without any verification from our clients as to their validity, are completely false and defamatory.

"The Neptunes vehemently deny that they used any of materials created or furnished by Mr Zakoni or the other unidentified producer, and can readily prove that such claims are utterly groundless.

"Accordingly, we hereby demand that you cease and desist from further dissemination of such falsehoods, and that you forthwith publish a corrected article reporting that the Neptunes deny the claims as groundless.

"Please be advised our clients shall refer this matter for litigation should there be any further publication of such false claims."

30/09/2003 17:20