Childish Gambino, formally known as Donald Glover, has been accused of copying from fellow US rapper, Jase Harley. Fans have caused a heated debate after noticing the apparent similarities between Gambino's recent hit "This is America" and "American Pharaoh" released by Harley in 2016.
Fans took to social media, including Twitter and Reddit, expressing allegations of plagiarism. One user, seemingly defending Gambino, tweeted, "There's a finite number of variables in harmony, rhythm, texture/sound world etc".
Despite public comments, Gambino's song made it into the top 10 in the UK and was a number one in the US after its release in May 2018. The hit draws attention to key issues in America including black oppression, police brutality and gun violence, which are illustrated in the music video.
Fam Rothstein, who is Childish Gambino's manager, denied the accusations of plagiarism. In a tweet he claimed that "'This is America' is three years older than 'American Pharaoh'" and that he has music editing software files to prove it. The tweet, however, has now been deleted.
In an Instagram post, Harley stated he agrees there are similarities but says he is humbled to have inspired the track. The rapper encouraged fans not to "dilute the message" both artists are trying to convey. It is suggested that Harley has no interest in taking the matter further in relation to filing a complaint at court. In a refreshing stance on a potential copyright issue, it has been reported that Harley would be "happy with a shout out".
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