It looks like one of the biggest songs of 2018 might be a rip-off
Could this be the next 'Blurred Lines' legal battle?
At the start of May, Childish Gambino set the world ablaze with the incredible video for his single 'This Is America', quickly drawing widespread acclaim and generating a storm of think-pieces.
A tour-de-force of direction, choreography, performance and satire, the video has almost 300 million views on YouTube at time of writing.
'This Is America' has been hailed as a zeitgeist moment of razor-sharp satire that expertly skews the current troubled state of America and its impact on the wider world.
It was also a huge victory for people pleased with themselves for understanding basic symbolism. The bit with the white horse is about death, don't you know?
On top of that, the song itself is a bit of a banger, although it admittedly loses a lot of power without the visual companion...
Clip via Donald Glover
Between that, his excellent TV show Atlanta, and a scene-stealing turn as Lando Calrissian in Solo: A Star Wars Story, it's been a pretty great summer for Donald Glover.
And now it's backlash time, and it's a backlash that might be quite valid.
Released in 2016, a track by the name of 'American Pharaoh' by rapper Jase Harley has drawn significant comparisons to 'This Is America', with many flat-out accusing Glover of wholesale lifting elements from the song to pass off as his own.
Take a listen below:
Clip via Various Artists - Topic
You have to say, that's pretty damning. Rhythm, structure, specific lyrical content and cadence... it does sound quite familiar indeed.
Harley has yet to make an official statement on the matter, though he did respond to comments on his latest Instagram post after many people highlighted the similarities between the two songs and accused Glover of outright plagiarism.
Harley appeared to acknowledge the claim, noting that "a shout out would be cool" and also seems relaxed enough about the situation.
Another response saw him admit that "all artists get inspired by others" and that Glover has his "love and support" with Harley "glad if my record influenced his".
Glover has yet to respond to these claims, but it's all very reminiscent of recent music plagiarism battles such as 'Blurred Lines' which effectively killed Robin Thicke's career as quick as it began to break through, following a successful $5.3 million copyright claim from the estate of Marvin Gaye.
Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson's summer jam 'Uptown Funk', meanwhile, continues to be the subject of much legal attention, with the most recent case arising in December.
Fam Rothstein of creative agency Wolf + Rothstein, which is made up of Rothstein, Wolf Taylor and Donald Glover, has responded on Twitter.
He claims that 'This Is America' is actually three years old, and that he and his team have the original production files as evidence.
-End of update-