The versions of Donald Glover’s “This is America” are coming fast and furious. The first one I saw was Nicole Arbour’s — she turned it into a song about the oppression of women, a cause to which I am sympathetic, but I detested her video. It had way too much Nicole Arbour in it, and seemed to be mainly about her, and it was musically flat and dull. Coming from someone who has a history of punching down, it felt more like an appropriation.
But this one is much more interesting: it’s “This is Nigeria”, by Nigerian rapper Falz The Bahd Guy.
I came away from that more aware of the problems in Nigerian culture than of how pretty the rapper is (and he’s pretty good, too). I guess my feeling is that if you’re going to steal from an instant classic like “This is America”, you’d better bring some real talent and authenticity to the table, because you’re going to always be compared to the original.