With rumors of new music coming from one of our favorites, Childish Gambino, we compiled a list of some of our past favs. Consistently fresh, consistently unique, Childish keeps coming out with songs that stick with us, all while reshaping the Rap and Hip Hop worlds.
It’s hard to ignore the opening of this song. Distinct in its rhythm, it then immediately sweeps you off into the whimsy of Glover’s vocals. I have to admit, when I first heard this song, I wasn’t sure if it was Childish himself, but he’s been cited in Triple J saying he just “sang differently” without any vocal pitching. If anything that’s just proof of Glover’s chameleon-like talents.
This Is America
This is America brilliantly ties in traditional African sounds with today’s undeniable trap beats. Like with many Childish songs, there is a certain playfulness (maybe thanks to his background in comedy), and yet this song is much more serious, targeting a major topic in the current American zeitgeist: gun violence. The song is an in your face reminder that this violence is not new–despite only recent outrage–particularly in Black communities.
This song about a seemingly serious topic, is dare I say, an instant mood booster. That’s kind of the magic of Childish Gambino, who creates enjoyable catchy beats without shying away from the mundane or seriousness of the everyday.
In 3005, we hear Glover’s voice clearly, with a little less singing, and more rapping as if he’s talking more directly to us. Again, playful, the song teeters the line between fun and irritation. Which can often be the two sides of the coin that is a relationship.
Bonfire is explicit, no doubt. It’s intense, full of energy, and says so much without the lyrics being too complex. As one of Childish’s earlier songs, perhaps he was trying to prove himself as a rapper. “Bonfire” marks Childish Gambino’s territory: This was when we knew he was not just the class clown.
I had to include My Shine, simply because it was the first Childish song I remember hearing. When I listen to it, I still feel the same excitement as I felt the first time. My Shine let us know Donald Glover could rap and sing. The song is melodically beautiful, but also contains the same intensity of Childish Gambino’s songs to come, precursing his albums to follow.