American DJ Megan Ryte has been accused of stealing beats from prominent South African gqom artist, DJ Lag, according to IOL. This comes after Ryte released her new song “Culture” featuring will.i.am and A$AP Ferg. Accusations gained traction this past Wednesday after many South African fans compared “Culture” to DJ Lag’s “Ice drop” which was released in 2016 from his self-titled EP. Many more have also remarked on the apparent similarities in the music video as well and going on to further accuse Ryte of not only stealing the song’s beat but also the video concept itself. DJ Lag responded to Ryte’s “Culture” Twitter post with his “Ice Drop” music video which was released back in 2017.
Ryte announced the release of the “Culture” visuals on November 20th of this year. According to Revolt, the song (ironically) is about preserving and protecting Black culture from cultural appropriation. The music video is strikingly black and white with drone shots of the DJ on top of a building. On the other hand, DJ Lag’s “Ice Drop” music video also has drone shots of dancers on a roof top.
Below are the two music videos for comparison purposes:
DJ Megan Ryte – Culture ft. will.i.am & A$AP Ferg (Official Video)
DJ Lag – ‘Ice Drop’ (Official Video)
Some Black South Africans have referenced famed American feminist theorist, bell hooks, to point out Ryte’s cultural appropriation. Black Twitter, on the other hand, has not held back from blatantly calling her a “thief”. South Africans have rallied behind DJ Lag by flooding the comment section under the “Culture” video on YouTube causing the artist to disable the comments. The number of dislikes under the video has risen exponentially above Ryte’s actual number of subscribers. Complaints about the song have also been directed to Hot 97, the radio station where Ryte works.
According to Hot New Hip Hop, it is difficult to discern when beats are stolen considering “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”. Admittedly, Ryte’s silence is questionable considering that DJ Lag is an international artist who has played sets all over Europe.
South Africans are demanding that DJ Lag be credited and paid if the allegations are proven true. Take a look at some of their reactions below.
THEFT THEFT THEFT… @MeganRyte @ASAPferg @iamwill DROPPED – Culture, Megan’s debut single & ITS A STOL… https://t.co/6vgNtghOkH
I did my part by disliking that culture vulture DJ Megan Ryte song she stole from DJ Lag. . South African DJ. . https://t.co/5a5Titikag
They stole a beat from a South African Dj thinking we don’t have internet hayi
— Efkay Lele Legodi
(@Efkay Lele Legodi )1606335156.0
You International Artists/DJs probably thought this is a jungle and we don’t have internet and you can just come st… https://t.co/sK02b9QAOe
— @RealTastyFinger (@@RealTastyFinger)1606330235.0