Written By: Fletcher Bonin
Donald Glover, alias Childish Gambino, is certainly having a moment. Everything he has been associated with in the past year has turned into something truly awesome. A quick recap: He produced, wrote, and starred in his own show ‘Atlanta’ on FX, which covers the rise of a rapper in Atlanta’s trap scene. Oh, and it won best TV series at the Golden Globes after just one season. In his acceptance speech, Glover’s shout out to Migos instantly made their song ‘Bad and Boujee’ hit number one on the charts. He’s been a writer for ’30 Rock’, released chart topping rap albums, held a leading role on the comedy series ‘Community’, been a featured actor in ‘The Martian’ and will soon have a role in an upcoming Starwars film. It is really beginning to seem as though he can do no wrong. And now he’s released an album called Awaken, My Love. And on this album, he is further changing the game. Rather than releasing a rap album as is his usual milieu, this album is an old school funk-soul production. This dude is seriously talented, and not surprisingly, this latest eleven track release is pure gold. I have always been a fan of Gambino, and as he adds layers to his repertoire as an entertainer, his fandom only intensifies.
Let’s take a closer look at this album. The funky beats and soaring, bouncing vocals are reminiscent of the funk kings, Sly and the Family Stone. The most acclaimed track off the album, ‘Redbone’, topped charts, and it’s easy to see why. The smooth instrumental intro leading into Gambino’s, boxy, distorted vocals is pure musical bliss. He sings, “if you want it, yea, you can have it, if you need it, we can make it, but stay woke.” It is in his lyrics that something interesting is happening. While at first listen, the lyrics might sound simplistic and reliant more upon melody (like most funk music), Gambino is introducing modern rap themes with his warning to “stay woke.”
Throughout the album, he is blending old school soul with his rap background. He has long been known for his clever, witty lyrics, and Awaken, My Love is no exception. My favorite track, despite the popularity of ‘Redbone’, is the track ‘California’. This upbeat track is the smooth soundtrack to any beach day, and even sounds like reggae at some points with beautifully distorted horns and flutes. I can’t say enough about Gambino and his multi-leveled talent, check out this album. And then check out everything else he’s been a part of, I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Check out my site: chillennials.wordpress.com