Zayn Malik recently released his debut album “Mind of Mine,” which hit stores March 25th, 2016 and was number one on iTunes for almost a week. Malik is most well-known for being a former member of the Irish/British band, One Direction which he left on March 25th, 2015.
Malik’s new solo album cover features him as child with a beige robe, a bright smile, and a bracelet on his right wrist, and his skin covered in tattoos. Some have pointed out that Malik’s album cover is very similar to Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter III (2008) and Tha Carter IV (2011) which also features a baby-version of the artist covered in tattoos. Because of the similarity between the two, Malik is being accused of stealing the idea of the tattooed baby cover from Lil Wayne.
Malik confronted these rumors with two tweets: “Use your brain, appreciate art don’t discriminate what you don’t understand” and “I’m not tryna be no rapper, my album is me a child .. My ideas have been with me a long time.”
Rumors circulated that Zayn was being suspicious about the whole situation and that Lil Wayne and Zayn were not on good terms. However, about a week later after the rumors started both artists released a collaboration, PILLOWTALK remix., a remix of Malik’s first single, PILLOWTALK, which he released on January 28th, 2016.
Fans insist that it’s Zayn’s creative sense, while Wayne’s fans accuse Malik of plagiarizing his cover.
Many of Zayn’s fans, also known as the Zsquad, have spoken out about this situation, defending Malik but acknowledging the argument of plagiarizing. Maria Martinez (@highwaistedzjm), a Zsquad member who runs a fan account for Zayn with over eight thousand followers on twitter, defended Zayn during the feud.
“If they made a remix maybe z (Zayn) asked for input beforehand,” Martinez said. “I think it can be artistry if he had a set vision and reasoning behind wanting that cover. But it’s too similar to Wayne’s to not be inspired by him.”
Some of his supporters admit that it might be inspired by Wayne but since it is one of his creations, just like his album, it should be credited to him. “He definitely got inspired by other artists just like his music. Just like he said it was something he had in mind that represented him,” active member of the Zsquad and sophomore, Zaira Ruelas said.
The Zsquad is very understanding about this situation, but still remains behind Zayn over this whole issue. They defend him by bringing up Drake’s Nothing Was The Same cover and The Notorious B.I.G’s Ready To Die which are also baby covers. “It represents his vision even if he wasn’t the first artist to do so,” Ruelas said.