This is America...and it’s a litigious country.
Rapper Kidd Wes (born Emelike Nwosuocha) recently filed a copyright infringement claim against Childish Gambino (born Donald Glover) in connection with Childish’s immensely popular and acclaimed song, “This Is America,” TMZ reports. Kidd claims Childish’s song is too similar to his own song, “Made In America.”
Per TMZ, the claimant rapper is suing Childish and the co-writers of the song (Ludwig Göransson and Jeffery Lamar Williams), along with the record’s label Roc Nation and Young Thug, who sings backup on the track, for major damages.
More details from TMZ:
According to Kidd Wes ... he created his track on SoundCloud in September 2016 and released it on YouTube a couple months later, where people could listen to it for free. He says he also registered the song with the U.S Copyright Office in May 2017, and it was set to be the lead single on his upcoming album.
As you likely know ... Gambino’s “This is America” was released in 2018, became incredibly popular and went on to win Grammy for Record of the Year.
According to the docs ... Kidd Wes claims the chorus, or hook, of “This is America” is “unmistakably substantially similar, if not practically identical” to his “Made in America.”
Wes claims Gambino’s “flow” is also substantially similar to his, and points to key lyrics in “Made in America” being similar to the hook’s refrain in “This is America,” for example:
“Made in America / Flex on the radio / Made me a terrorist / Pessimistic n***as / You should just cherish this”
Compared to this: “This is America / Guns in my area / I got the strap / I gotta carry ‘em”
“The similarities between the two pieces of music are beyond coincidental, and amounts to infringement, as alleged in the complaint filed by our client, Emelike Nwosuocha, professionally known as Kidd Wes,” Kidd’s counsel, New York City attorneys Imran H. Ansari and La’Shawn N. Thomas of Aidala Bertuna & Kamins, said in a statement sent to The Root. “Mr. Nwosuocha is confident in his claims, and simply seeks the credit and compensation he deserves for the unauthorized use of his music.”
For your personal reference, here is Kidd’s song, “Made In America”...:
...and here’s Childish’s “This Is America”:
This isn’t even the first time someone claimed copyright theft against the award-winning rapper-actor, either. Back in 2018, it was alleged that “This Is America” ripped off New York City rapper Jase Harley’s 2016 song “American Pharoah.” Childish’s creative partner, Fam Rothstein, who co-produced the hit song, denied the claims at the time in a now-deleted tweet, saying that the song was produced in 2015 and had “Pro Tools files to prove it.”
Following Childish’s big Grammy wins in 2019 (he won Song of the Year and Record of the Year), Jase considered Childish’s victory to be an actual “loss for the culture,” maintaining the claim that there are similarities between the two songs.
Donald, the actor, was also recently in the news for hopping on Twitter to use its Voice Tweet feature to confirm his long-awaited series Atlanta will return for its third season in early 2022 and that he’ll be releasing a movie trilogy and new album. The voice tweets have since been deleted.
The Root has reached out to representatives for Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino, for comment, and we are awaiting a response.