It seems like even the internet’s “good guy” isn’t immune to lawsuits and allegations. Donald Glover, known by his rap name of Childish Gambino, is currently facing a pending lawsuit in the form of copyright infringement. Independent rapper, who goes by Kidd Wes, is suing Donald Glover for allegedly ripping off the 2018 hit “This is America.” The lawsuit comes just three years after “This is America” won four Grammys for Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Rap/Sung Performance, and Best Music Video. The record launched Donald Glover even further into the limelight, bringing a newfound celeb status.
At the center of the allegations is Kidd Wes and his legal team coming to stake their claim in, at least in their minds, what’s theirs. According to Kidd Wes’s claims in court documents, Donald Glover and his team ripped off his 2016 single, “Made in America.” According to Kidd Wes, the single is “unmistakably substantially similar, if not practically identical” to his “Made in America.” Kidd Wes is seeking damages for record sales, endorsements, and a least 40 other causes. To back up his claims, Kidd Wes hired a musicologist. Dr. Brent Swanson, from the University of Miami, supports Kidd Wes’s claims.
According to Dr. Swanson, “There are distinct similarities in melodic contour, rhythmic triplet flow in each performance, and the lines ‘Made in America’ and ‘This is America’ line up nearly perfectly in time despite being different tempos. They also both use rhythmic utterances in their performances.”
The legal papers were filed in New York this past week and will for sure be brought to the forefront of a problem that has been within the industry for years. This isn’t the first time a major artist’s creativity been called into question. Many independent artists usually don’t have the backing nor the financial space to pursue legal action in many cases. But in Wes’s case, he’s hoping this marks the end of this credit stealing era.
Wes exclusively told media outlet Page Six in a statement: “It’s not about the money … it’s about the respect of the independent artist. I’ve had so many friends in the industry that were afraid to come up and say something, that they worked hours in the studio because a name was bigger than them. I just want this to be the end of an old era and the opening of a new one.”