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Akwandor Could Go To Jail For Plagiarism

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When I read this post from 237Showbiz, Is The Beat For Wax Dey’s Non Non Made By Akwandor A Copy Of Hurtin’ Me By Stefflon Don I felt really bad because the song, the lyrics, the melody and most of all the beats are too clean for it to be stained by beat jacking. beats jacking is not something new in the world of music but, it becomes very humiliating when it is coming from big names in the industry like Wax Dey and Akwandor if at all it’s true they did so.

I took time and listened to Hurtin’ Me by rappers Stefflon Don and French Montana produced by Rymez and released on June 16, 2017. This song was the lead single in Don’s debut EP “Hurtin’ Me”. In November 2017, it peaked number seven on the UK Singles Chart which made it Don’s highest-charting single.

Then I listened and listened again to Wax Dey’s Non-Non, the soundtrack from his reality TV show Number One Girl, Season 3. The beat and melody were just so similar that you could take it for just a change of words.

I don’t want to be a judge here as 237Showbiz asked because I don’t know if team Hurtin’ Me received any payment or credit for the beats from team Non-Non or they just emulated the whole thing. So I will not say Akwandor copied the beats until we get updates from their desk concerning this. If nothing comes out from them, then I may say it was just a “coincidence” and not beat jacking.

Beat Jacking is a form of music plagiarism since it can be considered as using or closely using someone’s beat as if it were your original work. Music plagiarism can be classified in two contexts – the musical idea or sampling. Sampling happens when you take portions of a sound recording and reuse in a different song without giving credit or making payments to the original author. If credit or payments was not made, then sampling is exactly what Akwandor did.

Musical plagiarism is not something new and may not be something that will end today especially in a country like Cameroon where plagiarism is rife and copyright laws are not respected. Artistes in Cameroon have suffered from plagiarism for long as their works have been copied and resold with impunity. As for music plagiarism, it is rare to find actions taken against those who copy works of others because justice at times in the country depends on who can pay more.

I can remember in the early 1990s where Epée et Koum sued Papillon for plagiarising L’Amour et la Misère and won the case. Their case actually was a little different. It is alleged Papillon actually wrote the song and sold to them. He later on turned around dished out the song to the public before the twin brothers could come out with their own version. To be frank with you, I enjoyed Papillon’s version of L’Amour et la Misere more. I cannot really verify as of now, but rumours had it that the court ruled in favour of the twins and all the royalties and sales from Papillon’s version was given to them.

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Popular musicians have not been left out in beat jacking slurs. According to Bossip, the producers of Cardi B’s Be Careful were accused by the owner of Hip Hop Music, Derrick Price of stealing his beat and slowing it down while later handing it to Cardi to record on. Kanye West and Nas were accused of stealing Nasir beat and cover art; Drake was accused of “jacking the beat and concept of Survivaljust after he released his Scorpion album. Just like Wax Dey’s Non-Non, social media users were the first to attack by saying Survival was nearly identical to Lil B’s 2014 track I’m Tupac that was produced by Keyboard Kid.

Technically, music plagiarism is detected in the similarity between the two songs. As D. Pinter puts it, Musical plagiarism — as proposed here — is primarily a matter of a close similarity of a rather long (two bars or more) melody or some fragments of melodies reinforced by arrangement-related elements. [in Plagiarism or inspiration?]

On levels of similarity, D. Pinter says A similarity between two songs or, in a broader sense, two musical pieces can be registered on various levels, such as melody, style, harmonic progression, structure, phrasing, rhythm, not to mention a number of things that are not directly related to the music itself: the lyrics, the arrangement, the video clip, and so on.

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Just as 237Showbiz asked us the readers to be the judge, I am also pushing back the judgment to you using D. Pinter’s Plagiarism or Inspiration? You can listen to Wax Dey’s Non-Non and Don and French Montana’s Hurtin’ Me so as to drop your verdict in the comment section below.

By Lobga Derick Sullivan for Iyun Ade Blog

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