Childish Gambino has been accused of stealing elements of his hit song “This Is America” from the song “American Pharaoh” by Jase Harley.
“This Is America” was released in early May and immediately drew worldwide praise for the artist for his forward-thinking lyrics and general message of the song, bringing to light the plight of blacks in America. Unfortunately, that legacy is now in danger of being marred by accusations of theft and copyright infringement.
“American Pharaoh” by Jase Harley was released in 2016 and features many elements also found in Gambino’s “America.” Both rappers modulate their voice and even follow the same general flow and intonation; both tracks alternate from soulful and melodic to a more bass-boosted chorus; and the message of both tracks are the same.
“I’m young and I’m black in America. They try to attack and embarrass us.”
“This is America, don’t catch you slippin’ up.”
Jase Harley – American Pharaoh
Childish Gambino – This Is America
For what it’s worth, Harley doesn’t seem too shaken up about the ordeal. He admits that noticed the similarities from the first time he heard Childish Gambino’s track, but says “it’s all love.”
“A shout out would be cool [shrug emoji] all good tho.. he’s a great artist, dope I could’ve had some influence on the record.”
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
In response to the fan claims of theft, Fam Rothstein responded on Twitter. Rothstein is a co-principal of the creative agency Wolf + Rothstein (which is comprised of himself, Donald Glover, and Wolf Taylor), and co-produced the music video for “This Is America.”
Rothstein wrote: “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.”
The tweet has since been deleted.
This case is now in the court of public opinion. No statement from Gambino or evidence of the Pro Tools file have yet surfaced. And we know that court doesn’t wait for evidence very long.