Childish Gambino sued for allegedly ripping off ‘This Is America’

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A rapper named Kidd Wes is suing Childish Gambino for millions over the 2018 hit “This Is America.” But Wes exclusively tells Page Six “it’s not about the money.”

Wes claims in court documents filed this week that he created a tune called “Made in America” in 2016, and that Gambino then infringed on his copyright with the “glaringly similar” “This Is America.”

Wes’ real name is Emelike Nwosuocha, while Gambino is the rap moniker of “Community” and “Atlanta” TV star Donald Glover.

The papers filed in New York federal court this week allege that the songs have a “substantially similar unique ‘flow,’” as well as “the lyrical theme, content, and structure of the identically-performed choruses.” Lawyers for Wes claim the similarity is “striking to an extent beyond coincidence.”

(Warning: Video contains explicit language and shocking imagery)

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The papers quote a University of Miami musicologist, Dr. Brent Swanson, who writes in a report attached as evidence in the suit that: “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.”

Swanson used “in-depth forensic sonic analysis,” the papers claim, to arrive at his conclusions.

The court docs also allege that listeners have commented on the similarities on the platform Soundcloud, with (perhaps less academic) comments such as, “Gambino ripped this s–t off you G.”

Wes’ legal team claims copyright infringement, and is seeking a permanent injunction, plus damages and lost profits from Gambino’s tune. The suit also names Gambino’s co-writers, record label, and publishing unit.

Wes exclusively told 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 for, 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.”

He added, “Creativity is what makes this industry what it is … that’s what this is solely about, respecting the art of one another.”

(Warning: Video contains explicit language and shocking imagery)

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Reps for Gambino, 37, and his label did not immediately get back to us.

Attorneys for Wes — Imran H. Ansari of Aidala Bertuna & Kamins, and La’Shawn N. Thomas of Miami Entertainment Law Group — commented, “The similarities between the two pieces of music are beyond coincidental, and amounts to infringement, as alleged in the complaint filed by our client … Mr. Nwosuocha is confident in his claims, and simply seeks the credit and compensation he deserves for the unauthorized use of his music.”

Ansari’s clients also include 50 Cent.

In 2018, rumors burbled on social media that “This Is America” copied Jase Harley’s 2016 track “American Pharaoh.” Harley posted on Instagram, “It’s cool tho … Glad they liked my song. It’s all love.”

However, one of Gambino’s collaborators tweeted that the allegations were false, and that “we have Pro Tools files to prove it.”

“This Is America” hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart when it was released, and went on to win four Grammys — including record and song of the year — in 2019.

Glover is next starring with Phoebe Waller-Bridge in an upcoming remake of “Mr. and Mrs. Smith,” the 2005 movie starring Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, for Amazon. He also played Lando Calrissian in 2018’s “Solo: A Star Wars Story.”

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