What makes for a good homage?

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.


  1. cartomancer says

    High quality milk, a good strain of lactococcus and a nice, cool cave to develop in.

    Oh, HOMage. Carry on…

  2. methuseus says

    Thanks for this. I probably wouldn’t have watched this if not for you posting it. For that matter, I probably wouldn’t have watched Glover’s original video, to my detriment, if you hadn’t posted it. I love how it used parts of the original, but was not a shot for shot remake, instead taking bits that are intercultural and imbuing it with the particular things happening in Nigeria.