Rapper Childish Gambino (a.k.a. the multi-talented Donald Glover) first whipped up controversy with his highly charged single and accompanying video, This Is America, back in May. Now the writer, producer, singer/songwriter and soon-to-be live action Lion King actor is catching some heat for the apparent similarities between his track and rapper Jase Harley’s 2016 song American Pharaoh.
Apparently, Ahmed (a.k.a. Big Business) with a reputation for being “one of Twitter’s most seasoned trolls and music pundits,” took those similarities to a new place echoing comparisons made on a Reddit thread and raising allegations of theft by Gambino:
Jamie Foxx talking about This Is America and we found out Donald Glover stole the song today qjajaldmaksmaksm
— Ahmed/Toronto Akademiks/Every White Blogger (@big_business_) June 25, 2018
Twitter users were only to happy to debate it:
They sound an awful lot alike… pic.twitter.com/1HOKFfJsxW
— Trouble (@LongDonnSilver) June 24, 2018
Gambino’s “This is America” turns out to sound oddly like “American Pharaoh” by Jase Harley.
— Kristi (@CinderSlays) June 25, 2018
okay so I listened to “American Pharaoh” and compared it to “this is America” and like it’s kind of similar but it’s honestly just that. similar. Bino didn’t steal that song. Both songs are very good. I will say tho jase Harley has found his way into my dossier 🙂 dude is good fr
— dylan richardson (@futurafunky) June 25, 2018
Yall really think Childish Gambino stole “This Is America”? Those songs are similar as FUCK. But I feel like it’s not just as cut-and-dry as “he stole it”.
— Action Hank (@_BushidoB_) June 25, 2018
https://t.co/vzE7948Gn7 They sound mad similar in structure and certain parts of the flow. This is one of the few times where it doesn't seem like people are reaching bro. Hmm.
— ✞⁷ (@jrewl) June 25, 2018
Here are the Gambino video and the Harley track; compare for yourself:
Some fans were quick to point out the limitations of music in general:
Ppl who aren’t musicians don’t understand how easy it is to accidentally copy someone else’s track. There’s a finite number of variables in harmony, rhythm, texture/sound world etc.
— The Land (@lovecleveland) June 25, 2018
This is veeeery true. However for subject matter, tempo, beat variation, flow and cadence to ALL be exact it does raise an eyebrow. Especially the subject matter. No idea's original. Most talented people are notorious for thieving.
— RakPo (@therealrakpo) June 25, 2018
For his part, Harley, whose American Pharaoh is at the center of this debate, seems unfazed, even calling Glover “a great artist.”
The artist Jase Harley acknowledged the similarity but also that he isn’t angry.
He said it’s cool he had an influence on a great record.
Very humble, makes me want to check out his other music.
— Austin Ratner (@ratsonrats) June 24, 2018
Yeah he's talked about it a bit on IG and doesn't seem upset…but also doesn't seem to have gotten the bag either pic.twitter.com/oMFqPKgIt4
— Tyler Conway (@jtylerconway) June 25, 2018
And Harley gained exposure for his track, picking up a few new fans along the way:
@jaseharleymedia the Bino thing aside, you have some great music my man. Definitely made some new fans today.
— Mason Jordan (@Masjord) June 24, 2018
— Vic (@VicForPrez) June 25, 2018
Gambino’s creative partner Fam Rothstein (who also co-produced the video for This is America) asserts in a piece by Pitchfork that there is no truth to the allegations because Glover’s song was under wraps for three years—pre-dating Harley’s track:
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.
If what Rothstein asserts is true, then it looks like this is just another case of great minds thinking alike.
H/T: Twitter, Pitchfork, YouTube, Reddit