Jason Derulo is sparking a wave of internet outrage after being accused of “lifting” his new song from a teenage musician.
The track, teased by Derulo on May 10, features an instrumental called “Laxed (Siren Beat),” which has become one of TikTok’s most omnipresent sounds. As of May 20, the beat has appeared in more than 36 million videos on the platform.
“Laxed (Siren Beat)” isn’t originally Derulo’s sound, though. In fact, the instrumental was created by Joshua Nanai, a 17-year-old Polynesian producer from New Zealand, according to Newshub. Nanai reportedly made the sound based on traditional “siren” melodies, which are common in certain Pacific island cultures.
When Derulo first shared “Savage Love,” he gave no credit to Nanai or his instrumental, Variety reported. That decision led to a wave of social media backlash, with fans demanding that the singer explain his song’s origins.
“It’s a really good song, but it wouldn’t be a good song without the beat that was clearly made by [Nanai],” one Twitter user wrote.
“Give credit to the NZ producer that made the original beat,” another demanded.
Others took the song as an act of cultural appropriation, claiming Derulo also didn’t acknowledge the instrumental’s importance as a piece of Polynesian culture.
“Just in time for Pacific Islander history month, Jason Derulo honored the Polynesian community by completely stealing an entire beat from a teenage Polynesian artist,” TikTok user Lakewood Papi said in a video.
Derulo ultimately credited Nanai for the instrumental, but, as Variety notes, only in the comments on his original TikTok sharing the track. Neither the clip’s title nor the name of the sound includes the teenage producer’s name.
Additionally, Variety reports that, as of now, Nanai has not been compensated at all for the use of his music.
If you liked this story, check out In The Know’s article on how TikTok became 2020’s most important music platform.
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