Childish Gambino, AKA Donald Glover, dropped a new song, This is America, yesterday. The song, as striking and chaotic as the video, is a commentary on American gun violence and racial targeting.

 

The video begins with Gambino displaying his standard light hearted persona, dancing around in an empty warehouse. But the mood shifts as dramatically as the lyrics when he pulls out a gun and shoots a man in the back of the head. He moves from singing “Girl, you got me dancin’, dance and shake the frame, we just wanna party” to rapping “this is America, don’t catch you slippin’ up, look at how I’m livin’ now, police be trippin’ now.”

These oxymoronic sentiments are accompanied by an equally surreal video, which features police cars and horses being ridden through a warehouse, Gambino’s ecstatic dancing, and then without warning, macabre scenes of Gambino using a machine gun to shoot down a whole choir.

These scenes seem to invoke specific historical moments, such as the Charleston protest and, more broadly, the Black Lives Matter movement. It has been received well by critics and twitter fans alike, with one even commenting: “Donald Glover is doing what Kanye thinks he’s doing,” presumably commenting on Kanye’s recent bizarre public support for Trump and comments about slavery.

He debuted another single ‘Saturday’ while hosting Saturday Night Live. The lighter subject matter and groovy beat provides much needed relief from the hard hitting narrative of ‘This is America’ . Both songs taken together provide a commentary on the realities of life for black men in America, and the need for escapism and distractions from that reality.

This is the first music Gambino has released since his 2016 funk and soul fusion album Awaken, My Love! featuring one of the most iconic songs of the year ‘Redbone’.

These two singles give us high hopes for the upcoming album, proving that Glover really is a once in a generation talent.

For more recently released singles, check out our Singles of the Week – out every Friday


Image: Taken from YouTube, Donald Glover and Hiro Murai

Finn is a journalist interested in pop culture and Taylor Swift

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