Donald Glover (AKA Childish Gambino) has been accused of copying elements of his hit single ‘This Is America’ from a song by American rapper Jase Harley, which was released in 2016.
The internet is still wrapping its head around the allegations, which surfaced today after hip hop fans noticed similarities between ‘The Is America’ and the song ‘American Pharaoh’, from Harley’s album Free Pxrn: The Memoir of an American Heathen.
While both songs have slightly different rhythms, there are a number of striking similarities, including the instrumentation, the lyrical cadence, the vocal inflection and subject matter — one line a number of music fans have pointed out is Harley’s, “I’m young and I’m black in America”.
Oh nah this shit was stripped from the bone and had Gambino crack sprinkled all on it lmaoooo
— Chris Mac (@RappersRActors) June 24, 2018
So Childish Gambino straight-up stole "This is America" from an obscure rappers's song released in 2016 without even crediting or contacting them. This is such a disgustingly blatant ripoff and it sucks that Donald Glover is getting away with it https://t.co/qilRcW1ESp
— horse renoir (@T_RAUMLAND) June 24, 2018
cant belive childish gambino stole this is america from a starving artist smh not even a shout out
— Yung Brain (@Johnnyminds) June 25, 2018
Responding to the controversy in a series of comments posted to Instagram, Harley said he always thought his song “inspired” the Gambino track, even from the first time he heard it.
Agreeing with fans who claimed Glover copied elements of ‘American Pharaoh’ without attribution, Harley said:
“Yeaaa lol it’s cool tho.. glad they liked my song. It’s all love.
“A shout out would be cool. All good tho… he’s a great artist, dope I could’ve had some influence on the record.
“All artist get inspired by others… artists being thirsty for bread is why ppl don’t wanna credit anyone for inspiration.
“It’s all love and support from me, glad if my record influenced his.”
You can compare Jase Harley’s ‘American Pharaoh’ to ‘This Is America’ below, alongside Harley’s Instagram comments.
While there are obvious similarities between the two songs, it could just be a coincidence. A number of music fans have also pointed out that artists are routinely influenced by other artists.
It’s also odd that similarities between the songs have only just been picked up, given that ‘This Is America’ has been out for almost two months.
People do this shit every time. People are posting about Childish Gambino stealing This Is America because they found a song from 2016 that "sounds like it".
Same shit last year when they were saying Kendrick stole from some rapper no one heard of. The reach is real.
— okay champ. (@Q_TEEP) June 25, 2018
‘This Is America’ was released on 5th May, alongside a music video which quickly became one of the most iconic clips of 2018.
Donald Glover is yet to comment publicly on the internet’s concerns about the song, but the controversy surrounding ‘This Is America’ arrives on the same day that he announced a trip to Australia to headline Canberra’s Spilt Milk festival.
UPDATE 26/06/18: Jase Harley has released a further statement on Instagram, saying:
“I feel extremely humbled to be recognized and labeled as one or the original inspirations for one of the most important pieces of music and visual art of our time.
“I appreciate all the love and support! But PLEASE DON’T let this controversy dilute the message me and @childishgambino are trying to convey. We are speaking about injustices we’ve encountered and he’s helped to provide a platform for all our voices to be heard. Let’s not discredit him for that!
“The focus should be on affecting change in our communities and building equality. This is bigger than me and him and bigger than music. Let’s not lose focus.”
See his post, below.