A recent single from DJ Megan Ryte, A$AP Ferg, & Will.i.Am is being raked through the coals for seemingly plagiarizing DJ Lag's "Ice Drop."
The conversation of musical plagiarism can be a tricky one to navigate, with countless lawsuits having left artists scratching their heads and looking over their shoulders. Many feel that cases of song-stealing are seldom as black-and-white as the prosecuting parties tend to believe. And though it's not always easy to argue an intentional violation, especially given the finite number of possible chord progressions and melodic ideas, some cases are a little more clear than others -- especially when the court of public opinion is out for blood.
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In the case of DJ Megan Ryte's latest collaboration with Will.i.am and A$AP Ferg, the percussive "Culture," many were quick to call a flagrant foul on the play over undeniable similarities to DJ Lag's "Ice Drop." For those who don't know, Lag is a South African producer hailing from Durban and a prominent player in the rising Gqom genre. In 2016, he teamed up with the London-based label Goon Club Allstars to deliver "Ice Drop," a song included on Lag's self-titled EP.
It didn't take long for many to flood Ryte's Twitter comments with accusations of plagiarism, a fact made all the more ironic given the song's intended stance against the ever-circling threat of culture vultures. It got so bad that Ryte actually disabled comments on the track's YouTube page, which has since tallied well over two million views. DJ Lag himself offered his own take in Ryte's Twitter comments, sharing a snippet of the song and voicing that “In our tradition respect comes first. Ice Drop is our CULTURE."
As of now, Ryte has yet to issue a response to the backlash -- though don't be surprising to see this one get properly addressed one way or another, given how rapidly the controversy is currently spreading. For those looking to draw their own conclusions, both songs have been included for your perusal. Do you think Megan Ryte and her team drew inspiration from DJ Lag's "Ice Drop?"