Drake’s ‘Hotline Bling’ Video Accused of Plagiarism
Just a few days after the release of Drake's meme-inspiring music video for "Hotline Bling," a subset of the Internet is calling plagiarism on the Canadian rapper, saying the video's bright, colorful backdrops show a remarkable similarity to 72-year-old artist James Turrell's light installations, and the visuals are too identical to qualify as mere inspiration.
Anyone who's seen stills from "Hotline Bling" and any photos of Turrell's work can attest to the comparison: Though not identical, the video's neon color gradients are an obvious (though uncredited) reference. You can see one particularly similar side-by-side image — a still from the video and Turrell's original work underneath — below, via art site Hyperallergic. And it should be noted: Drake is a known fan of the artist.
In a profile with Rolling Stone, Drake admitted, "I f---k with Turrell. He was a big influence on the visuals for my last tour."
And back in 2014, the "Take Care" rapper posted a few images to Instagram of himself deep in contemplative thought while viewing Turrell's light installation exhibits when he dropped by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (or LACMA for short).
Drake has yet to address the accusations of plagiarism or whether the visuals merely qualify as heavy-handed inspiration, but Turrell issued a statement about the video via his lawyer Donn Zartesky. Posted to Zartesky's Art Law Blog, the statement says, "While I am truly flattered to learn that Drake f---ks with me, I nevertheless wish to make clear that neither I nor any of my woes was involved in any way in the making of the 'Hotline Bling' video.”