Gambino Under Fire For Plagiarizing “This Is America”
it has been a month since the widely received and critically acclaimed music video for Childish Gambino’s hit single “This is America” was released. Since then it has accumulated a whopping 300 million views on YouTube. The video with its extremely dense imagery has become a talking point in every household, something Gambino is known to cause with his previous songs and videos as well. This highly praised song was however recently under fire for plagiarizing the song “American Pharaoh” by New York based rapper Jase Halsey, released March 2016.
This was soon brought to light after Gambino’s Sunday night impromptu performance at the BET Awards at the Microsoft Theater in LA. Host Jamie Foxx beat-boxed as Gambino cam on stage to sing this infamous hit. Later what was seen as a huge reaction by Twitter to a subreddit blowing up to 2500 comments about Gambino having stolen the song from Harley.
Since then, this controversy has gained attention from both Gambino’s management, Harley, and Twitter. Harley claimed that he always thought that there was some link to both the songs since he heard “This Is America”. While many have gone out to tweet that the two songs sound too similar to be a coincidence. What is extremely controversial is the statement given by Gambino’s manager and a member of Wolf+Rothstein creative group, Fam Rothstein. Rothstein initially defended Gambino in a tweet, stating,
“The internet is a place of no consequences. I hate that Toronto Akademiks/every white blogger can say something as gospel and y’all take it. This song is 3 yrs old, and we have Pro Tools files to prove it.” He further tweeted on the matter and claimed that his tweets were official statements by Gambino and his label. However, later this tweet was deleted and nothing has been said in place of the void created.
Whether or not this was a coincidence or if Gambino actually did plagiarize, that has yet to be decided as this story further unfolds. However, having received no standing official statement from Gambino, nor any legal action taken by Harley and his team, as he doesn’t wish to cash in on any royalties, the future of this story is uncertain. However, it should be noted that inspiration is taken in all forms of art and that what Gambino did could probably be just plain coincidence. And even if it wasn’t, Gambino is a majorly talented artist who had produced many other hit singles, like “Redbone”, and is seen as a person who would be capable of achieving the level of excellence that “This Is America” is. The internet, however, seems relentless in its attacks on him.