'This is America': Childish Gambino sued by rapper over alleged copyright infringement

Kidd Wes claims the Grammy-winning song is 'glaringly similar' to one he released two years earlier

Actor Donald Glover performs as a rapper under the alter ego Childish Gambino. AFP
Actor Donald Glover performs as a rapper under the alter ego Childish Gambino. AFP

Actor and singer Childish Gambino, whose real name is Donald Glover, is being sued for alleged copyright infringement by a rapper who claims Grammy-winning track This is America was "glaringly similar" to one of his.

Emelike Nwosuocha, who performs under stage name Kidd Wes, said the two songs shared “nearly-identical unique rhythmic, lyrical and thematic compositional and performance content contained in the chorus", according to court documents filed in New York.

These sections "are centrepieces of both songs", the complaint added.

Nwosuocha says Glover's 2018 tune, which went on to become the first rap song to win Grammys for best song and best record, came out two years after his, which is called Made in America and was uploaded to SoundCloud in September 2016.

He alleges the similarities are "striking to an extent beyond coincidence" and "audible to the average lay person".

The No Pressure rapper also employed a musicologist to compare the tracks, and they concluded the similarities are "likely not coincidences", state the court documents.

Nwosuocha is demanding a trial and seeking damages including lost profits and opportunities, and his case also names Glover's label, RCA, Roc Nation and Young Thug, who performed backing vocals on This Is America, among many others.

No amount is mentioned, but he claims Glover and co-writers made "hundreds of millions of dollars" from the song.

Gambino has yet to publicly respond to the allegations.

This is not the first time someone has claimed the song bears similarities to another, as in 2018 a blogger compared it with a track from rapper Jase Harley called American Pharaoh.

Harley did not pursue legal action, however, as Glover's manager said they could prove his song was original.

Updated: May 11, 2021 11:44 AM

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