Donald Glover is accused of plagiarizing Grammy-winning hit This Is America

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Donald Glover is accused of plagiarizing Grammy-winning hit This Is America by rival rapper who claims it is ‘glaringly similar’ to his song Made In America

  • Emelike Nwosuocha, who raps as Kidd Wes, filed the lawsuit in New York
  • Claims ‘This Is America’ is similar to his self-released song ‘Made In America’
  • Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino, won acclaim for his 2018 hit song
  • But it is not the first time he has faced accusations the song is similar to others

Donald Glover, the rapper also known as Childish Gambino, is being sued for alleged copyright infringement, with a rival musician saying the Grammy-winning hit ‘This Is America’ was lifted from him.

Emelike Nwosuocha, who raps as Kidd Wes, says in court documents the 2018 rap smash from Glover is ‘glaringly similar’ to a song he released two years prior on the Soundcloud platform.

The federal complaint filed in New York cites ‘nearly-identical unique rhythmic, lyrical, and thematic compositional and performance content contained in the chorus — or ‘hook’ — sections that are the centerpieces of both songs.’

‘This Is America’ in 2019 become the first rap song to win the prestigious Grammys honoring best song and best record.

Donald Glover

Emelike Nwosuocha

Donald Glover (left) is being sued for alleged copyright infringement by Emelike Nwosuocha (right), who claims the 2018 hit This Is America is similar to his own song

Choruses of the two songs 

Nwosuocha alleges This Is America and his own song have a ‘nearly-identical unique rhythmic, lyrical, and thematic compositional and performance content contained in the chorus’. Here are the two choruses:

 Glover’s This Is America

This is America

Don’t catch you slippin’ now

Don’t catch you slippin’ now

Look what I’m whippin’ now 

 Nwosuocha’s Made In America

I’m making a mission

I’m made in America

Flex on the radio, it made me a terrorist

Pessimist n****s, you should just cherish this

2016 Rappers?

(yeah) you should beware of this

Glover’s song is packed with social commentary and juxtaposes an up-tempo rhythm, layered with church hymns and Afrobeats, with a heavier, more foreboding bassline.

The song’s lyrics and music video, which is punctuated by scenes of shocking shootings, have been viewed primarily as a commentary on black culture in the United States, and on gun violence and police brutality.   

Nwosuocha says the flow of his song and Gambino’s are ‘unmistakably substantially similar, if not practically identical.’

He claimed that the similarity in lyrical content and delivery in the two songs was ‘striking to an extent beyond coincidence’ and ‘audible to the average lay person’. 

The suit cited a musicologist he employed to compare the two tracks, who said ‘similarities in melodic contour, rhythmic triplet flow in each performance, and the lines ‘Made in America’ and ‘This is America” are ‘likely not coincidences.’

Nwosuocha is seeking a trial and damages, including for lost profits and opportunities.

Glover won acclaim for his 2018 hit, which was the first rap song to win Record of the Year and Song of the Year at the Grammys

Glover won acclaim for his 2018 hit, which was the first rap song to win Record of the Year and Song of the Year at the Grammys 

Though the suit does not name a specific sum for damages, it claims that Glover and his co-writers made ‘hundreds of millions of dollars’ from This Is America.

Among the defendants named in the complaint are Glover’s record label RCA, along with Roc Nation and the rapper Young Thug, who is credited as a writer and performing backing vocals.

Glover has not publicly responded to the allegations. It is not the first time that others have claimed his hit resembles other songs.

In 2018 a blogger wrote of a similarity between This Is America and a track from rapper Jase Harley called ‘American Pharaoh.’

Harley declined to pursue legal action, saying that if his song was a partial inspiration for This Is America, he had no issue with it.

Glover’s manager rejected the plagiarism allegations, saying computer files dating back to 2015 proved This Is America was original.

If the creation of This Is America dates back to 2015, it would predate both Harley’s and Nwosuocha’s songs.

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