SB19’s Ken—who uses his real name FELIP in solo music projects—has released his single Bulan. It has, shortly after, been faced with “copying” allegations in line with “Lit" by EXO's Lay Zhang.
The singer and his team took inspiration from ancient Filipino folklore for the music video dropped on Saturday, May 28. “Bulan is a metaphor for real-world issues, while staying true to the common knowledge of what transpired among the characters in most versions of the ancient lores,” he said.
“Definitive resources for this aspect of our culture have been destroyed during the colonial period, hence, the goal for this release is to encourage the youth to dig deep, discuss, and keep this aspect of our memory alive for generations to come,” the YouTube video’s description read.
While it has become an instant hit on YouTube—it’s the top three trending video for music on YouTube since its launch, with over 700,000 views as of this writing—it has also been slammed with allegations that FELIP just copied some parts of the music, lyrics, and video from Lay Zhang’s “Lit.”
He has reacted to the claims in a statement, pointing out that since art creation usually stems from inspiration, “it is inevitable for any of my (or any artist for that matter) songs to have some similarities in style with other artists as I often harness my musical references when creating.” Such references, as he previously shared, are Post Malone, Lay Zhang, One OK Rock, and Jaden Smith.
FELIP acknowledged the similarities between the two tracks, but “a closer examination of the chord progressions, instrumentation, samples used, and even syllabication will prove the claim otherwise.” As for the melody and chants, they “were based on indigenous Filipino ritual music, made modern with the addition of rock and hip-hop elements.”
“Bulan was heavily and responsibly researched that details in the MV had its cultural basis, executed with some variations so as not to offend any cultures/indigenous populations,” said FELIP. He then proceeded to include a roundup of such similarities between both singles as well as the idea behind each of them.
Hello, this is FELIP & team.— FELIP (@felipsuperior) May 31, 2022
We are aware of certain posts circulating on social media alluding to the similarities between Bulan & Lay Zhang’s Lit. We’d like to clarify the allegations & shed light on the concerns as these are issues that need to be addressed. pic.twitter.com/bTNmgi1CJf
Netizens, including his fans, commended how FELIP and his team addressed the allegations.
One of them said they get why some people see the similarities between the two. “Never heard of Lay Zhang’s Lit until now. And yeah, I understand why some people see the similarities; especially with the intro and the color palette and the dragon. Di maiiwasan when incorporating Asian cultue in MVs, andaming intersecting lores. Learning experience nalang.”
“Thanks for the clarification. All we are asking is acknowledgment and credits. And I think Lay is open for collaboration of his works. And there is a proper way to do it. We could have avoided the issue, but kudos to the team and Felip for the action,” another one tweeted.
Some Twitter users suggested that FELIP credits the idea in the MV’s description box. “Ah so inamin naman nila na one of many references nila ay lit and they are crediting the concept perooo when ilalagay yan sa description ng video? Since they acknowledged naman,” someone said.
“Question, so ilalagay nyo bas a MV yung credit for Lay, para wala ng gulo and away? I think that’s the best solution instead of the MV/song being tagged as plagiarism, since inamin mo na naman na isa sya sa mga reference mo,” said a netizen.
This is the second track of the SB19 member under his solo name FELIP. The first one is dubbed “Palayo,” which was released in September.