12/02/2018 15:46 SAST | Updated 13/02/2018 09:46 SAST

DJ Lag Could Get The Last Laugh In 'Omunye' Plagiarism Scandal

An investigation finds the Distruction Boyz' summer hit was stolen.

Distruction Boyz.
Distruction Boyz.

Between the back-and-forth over the resignation of President Jacob Zuma, the public protector's report on the Vrede Dairy Farm scandal, the drought in Cape Town and Thabang Mosiako's assault, South Africa has a lot on its plate. To all this, we can add a scandal starring Gqom duo Distruction Boyz.

A City Press report on Sunday confirmed rumours that the group's popular summer song, "Omunye" was plagiarised.

The publication detailed a forensic copyright investigation, which stated the track was stolen from DJ Lag whose own track, "Trip To New York", was released months before "Omunye".

The report, compiled by song analysis expert and trained musician Sakhile Moleshe, reveals that while the lyrics are completely different, the music on "Omunye" is identical to that on "Trip to New York". It concludes by saying due to the tempo, key signature, instrumentation and lead melodies being the same in both musical works, "Omunye" must have been copied from "Trip to New York".

Like Distruction Boyz, DJ Lag also hails from KwaZulu-Natal, and had previously been friendly with the duo. He commissioned the comparative analysis report that later found in his favour.

In responding to the allegations, Distruction Boyz said they had bought the song from DJ Mphyd, a Cape Town producer, who has also denied stealing the song from DJ Lag.

What now?

Music rights expert Sakhele Mzalazala told HuffPost that the parties involved are likely to turn to the courts for a final judgment.

He said if Distruction Boyz is found guilty as the report has indicated, depending on what DJ Lag's demands are, they will have to give up mechanical and performing rights to the song.

"They will also need to change ownership of the song, so royalties don't go to them," he said.

DJ Lag's "Trip to New York" was released as an exclusive to his fans on datafilehost on April 6, and he released the EP containing the song on July 27 via WhatsApp.

The two songs:

"Trip To New York"


Distruction Boyz' Thobani "Que" Mgobhozi told City Press that although they knew DJ Lag had an EP out, they had not listened to it.

"We don't play his tracks because his gqom is very different to ours. We have commercialised gqom; it's different," he said.

Additional reporting by Duenna Mambana.