After Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” made Grammy history, scoring both Song of the Year and Record of the Year statuettes, it marked a triumphant shift for many hip-hop fans.
However, rapper Jase Harley isn’t exactly feeling that embrace. The man behind “American Pharaoh” recently chatted with TMZ about Gambino’s “prestigious award” win, which he isn’t digging, given the similarity to his 2016 song.
“I feel like it’s a loss for the culture,” the artist remarked.
When news of the eerily similar track first surfaced, Harley assured the public he felt “extremely humbled” to serve as the popular song’s inspiration and urged fans not to “dilute the message” within his or Gambino’s songs.
“This is bigger than me and him and bigger than music,” Harley noted on his Instagram in June 2018. “Let’s not lose focus.”
Cut to today, and Harley is comin’ out with guns-blazin.’ All kinds of shots fired. Slave analogy shots, to be specific.
“It’s almost like the house slave heard the chants from the field,” Harley continued. “And he took that song back with him, and sung it back to the house. And instead of trying to liberate the people in the field, he got a bigger room in the house.”
Harley also criticized Gambino for not showing up to the Grammys ceremony and missing an opportunity to use the platform to elevate the song/music video’s messaging. On Sunday night, producer Ludwid Göransson took the lead in providing the official acceptance speech.
To be honest, I figured the reasoning for his absence was the same reason why Atlanta’s third season is delayed: he’s busy as fuck. But, what do I know?
“He should’ve been there, he should’ve been there for the people and instead I think it shows his true intentions,” Harley noted. “I just want to say congratulations to him as a young black man that’s trying to be successful in America. I’m happy that he’s made it. I’m happy for him. But, this is terrible for the culture. This is not good for hip-hop.”
Overall, Harley says he isn’t campaigning for credit on the song, he just wants public acknowledgement from Gambino and the rest of the production team that they heard his song.
The Root has reached out to Childish Gambino’s team for comment.