One of Donald Glover’s collaborators has denied claims the singer copied elements of his Childish Gambino single ‘This Is America’ from a 2016 song by New York rapper Jase Harley called ‘American Pharaoh’.
Fam Rothstein, who co-produced the music video for ‘This Is America’ — and who is also a co-principal of the creative agency Wolf + Rothstein (which is comprised of Rothstein, Glover and Wolf Taylor) — wrote in a since-deleted tweet that Glover’s team can prove the song wasn’t plagiarised.
“The internet is a place of no consequences. I hate that every Toronto Akademiks/white blogger can say something as gospel and y’all take it,” he reportedly wrote.
“This song is 3 yrs old, and we have Pro Tools files to prove it.”
In a new statement of his own, Jase Harley said he feels “extremely humbled” to be recognised for potentially influencing Glover’s song.
“I appreciate all the love and support! But PLEASE DON’T let this controversy dilute the message me and @childishgambino are trying to convey,” he said.
“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.”
Allegations of plagiarism surfaced yesterday after hip hop fans noticed similarities between ‘The Is America’ and ‘American Pharaoh’, which appeared on Harley’s album Free Pxrn: The Memoir of an American Heathen.
Music fans pointed to a number of similarities between the songs, including their instrumentation, their lyrical cadence, vocal inflection and subject matter.
Compare the two songs below, and judge for yourself.
Glover is bringing his Childish Gambino project to Australia in November, for some headline shows and an appearance at Canberra’s Spilt Milk festival.