UPDATE:An earlier version of this article mentioned Yung Berg the Hitmaker as the producer of the record. But new information has been updated which states that
The entire Nigeria is up in arms about a perceived theft of Phyno’s song by an American singer named Pia Mia.
The record in quote is a song named ‘I’m a fan’ which was released by Phyno in 2016 as part of his “The Playmaker” album. Phyno’s version featured Mr Eazi, and another relative newcomer, Decarlo. The song which is an urban Carrribean fusion, has not been made a single by the Nigerian rapper, but it is one of the critically loved records on the project.
The song was produced by Benjamz.
On May 26, 2017, American singer and songwriter, Pia Mia, released a version of the song which featured singer Jeremih. The similarities between hers and Phyno were present from the start. Pia Mia employs the same song title (I’m a fan’), extremely similar production, chorus, and verse.
On basic inspection, they are the same song, but Pia Mia’s version was produced by Yung Berg Hitmaka.
The basic crowd mentality with singles in Nigeria is that whoever releases it first owns the song, and every other version is a copy. And that’s what’s been happening. Pia Mia has been dragged across Nigerian social media as a thief, with fans and music enthusiasts accusing her of blatant theft.
But here’s the story. Pia Mia did not steal any song. She didn’t take Phyno’s record, neither did she appropriate the music. The true story is way beyond her.
The story of ‘I’m a fan’ single began from Phyno, Jeremih and producer Yung Berg. According to verified sources close to Phyno’s camp, the rapper was working on incorporating Island-ready production on his sophomore album to tap into the international market. He was in talks with Yung Berg, who sent him the song to work with.
“The guy sent the song to us, and we wanted to work together, but something happened and we couldn’t use it,” our source tells Pulse.
Due to issues regarding remuneration, clearances and demands, Phyno and Yung Berg did not work together. But Phyno liked the idea of the sound, so he sought the help of producer Benjamz, who reconstructed the single, and brought on Mr Eazi and Decarlo to collaborate and release the record.
Yung Berg, who had totally abandoned the Phyno project, still has his music, and so when Pia Mia tapped him and Jeremih for a new record, they had this one ready-made for her to record and release.
These things are not uncommon. In 2014, Phyno’s ‘Authe’ record featuring Flavour, and DJ Spinall’s ‘Gba gbe’ featuring Burna Boy possessed similar melody and lyrics in the choruses. But it was also a recording misunderstanding which was never taken to court. Both Burna Boy and Flavour had worked on a song, which was never finished. So they supplied it to other people.
So Pia Mia, did not steal a Nigerian song. Phyno and Yung Berg had a misunderstanding, and the music has been duplicated.
Would any action be taken?
According to our source, no official communication has been passed between Phyno and his team, hence at the moment, there is no official response. Pia Mia has not responded too. The singer has chosen to focus on promoting her new single, which is receiving initial positive reviews.