Lorde Suggests Kanye West and Kid Cudi Stole Her Stage Design [UPDATE]
Kanye West and Kid Cudi performed Sunday at Los Angeles’s Camp Flog Gnaw festival inside a suspended glass box. As Lorde pointed out today on Instagram, the set-up resembles the stage design for her Melodrama tour and 2017 Coachella performance, which also featured an elevated glass enclosure. “I’m proud of the work I do and it’s flattering when other artists feel inspired by it, to the extent that they choose to try it on themselves. But don’t steal—not from women or anyone else—not in 2018 or ever,” she wrote.
New Instagram story of Lorde acknowledging Kanye’s fishtank stage design! pic.twitter.com/lhGFQBvlEc
— Lorde Daily (@LordeDaily) November 12, 2018
Lorde’s is not the first accusation of theft lobbed at West this year. The fashion plagiarism-spotting Instagram account Diet Prada has documented instances of Kanye claiming ownership of a legging sketch actually drawn in 2005 by ex-Nike designer Tony Spackman (for which West later apologized and blamed a Yeezy employee) and the Yeezy Season 6 marketing campaign’s apparent copying of a 2015 photo shoot by artist Rita Minissi.
Minissi responded to the latter allegation in a July statement, saying, “Although I am deeply distressed by this exploitation, the greater issue here is that a large corporate entity is profiting off of years of labor from a self-funded artist by turning something cathartic into capital; attempting to steal the truth of an individual without consequences. This is not an isolated instance, to the corporate entity in question or to the industry as a whole.”
West’s alleged history of fudging ownership over creative concepts dates back at least to the turn-of-the-century, when he infamously lent production and song ideas to Jay-Z that already existed as songs by local Chicago rappers like Payroll and E.C. Illa. Illa recounted the legend last month in an interview on the Murder Master Music Show where he described how Hov’s “Never Change” was based on Payroll’s Kanye-produced song by the same name, and said Payroll busted West’s head with a bottle for re-selling the beat and concept.
In any case, you can watch some amusing videos of West dancing aggressively inside the Camp Flog Gnaw terrarium here. We’ve reached out to the production designer who worked on Lorde’s Coachella set for comment and will update if we hear back. You can listen to Payroll’s “Never Change” below.
Update (11/13): TMZ points out that both West and Lorde have worked with the same set designer, Es Devlin. Devlin designed Lorde’s Coachella box, as well as the sets for the Yeezus and Watch the Throne tours, but not, as TMZ reported, the Kids See Ghosts box. Devlin today posted on Instagram three photos of her set for the English National Opera’s 2007 presentation of Georges Bizet’s Carmen, which also featured a floating glass box, along with some thoughts on the form.
“The idea of a floating glass box of course is not in any way new and the geometry precedes all of us. The form finds another layer of resonance in each new context,” Devlin wrote. “I admire both [artists] and see no imitation at work here: I think the more interesting point is that both artists, responding to our dis-jointed times, are being drawn to this gesture of the fragile floating room: the world un-moored from gravity : where the rules of civilisation and identity as we have known them may soon no longer apply.”
You can view that glass box below.