View Full Version : Childish Gambino

11-05-2018, 10:39 AM
ok this guy might not be cool - and in fact i couldn't find anything else good by him (which was a very weird experience - everything else seems "indie")

BUT - believe the hype - this is pretty amazing. just the fact that he's not wearing a shirt - makes him look a bit fat and somehow like a seventies funk idol is great


11-05-2018, 10:48 AM

11-05-2018, 10:52 AM
There's a good article about him in a recent New Yorker. He seems like an interesting character.


This is America video is pretty brilliant. It's an interesting case of the song being indivisible from the video, because without the video the song doesn't really get the message across.

But what's the message?

He has 21 Savage and Young Thug doing adlibs for the song, which is intriguing, too - if you read the New Yorker article, he isn't dismissive of trap music at all, which is sort of how this video might be read - a nerd rapper taking the piss out of Migos et al.

OTOH maybe the way to read it is that the uplifting gospel music doesn't reflect the violent reality of being black in America like trap does. Or as you refer to Woebot maybe it's both - the schizophrenic experience of being black in America today.

I was reminded of Danny Brown's Lie 4, which satirises materialist rap, only that's a better song.

11-05-2018, 11:08 AM
This is America video is pretty brilliant. It's an interesting case of the song being indivisible from the video, because without the video the song doesn't really get the message across.

absolutely. it's not simply a song. it's a video. but [in fairness] it is kinda there in the sonics too no?

what's the message? well it definitely reminded me of my recent experiences in america. that hair trigger divide between "sunny normality" and - (without the quotation marks) - the viciously bleak. and captures the paranoia. segregation of realities.

11-05-2018, 11:15 AM
As mad as Kanye's gone lately, ppl saying Donald Glover is the genius Kanye wishes he was is a bit rich cos I can't imagine Childish Gambino existing without Kanye's precedent.

11-05-2018, 02:35 PM
It's really bad.

I mean it works if you have a disregard for the actual value of the rappers he uses as props and signifiers, and it works if it appeals to your sense of moral righteousness against racism and the subjugation of black people for the purposes of media and the objectification of observance and what have you but you can just draw those conclusions without explication sometimes.

It's a very bad song. It embarasses me to see people lavish him with attention considering 6 years ago he was a juvenile monger of rape jokes. Not in the Tyler, The Creator "I'm really into serial killer perspectives" way but just really crude misogyny for the sake of saying wacky shit and an exaggerated "GETTIT GETTIT?" defense shield, only for him to revamp himself because of an entertaining show and a hokey Funkadelic rip-off album last year.


This was really good by comparison.

11-05-2018, 03:23 PM
Regardless of Glover’s intended statements in his video, it does what a lot of celebrated black art is doing: portraying violence against black people as entertainment for white people.

Hmm... so its like a rap/race Cannibal Holocaust?

11-05-2018, 04:03 PM
His show on FX, Atlanta, is great, but I've never been too fussed about his music. That Redbone tune where he played about with Bootsy Collins was pretty catchy, but other than that he doesn't do much for me as a musician. The vid for This is America is pretty good, but the song itself isn't anything special.

11-05-2018, 04:05 PM

11-05-2018, 04:07 PM
Struggling to find the XXXtentacion video where he lunches a little white boy. Presume it's been expunged.

11-05-2018, 04:52 PM
He has 21 Savage and Young Thug doing adlibs for the song, which is intriguing, too.


11-05-2018, 04:55 PM
crowley's human gabba.

11-05-2018, 04:57 PM
ironically enough, crowley's post is in keeping with the aesthetic of the whole thing. the dissensus choir was just having a nice sing song and he mows them down with an automatic weapon.

11-05-2018, 04:59 PM
His show on FX, Atlanta, is great...

it's actually the best fucking thing on american TV, been meaning to post on it here. every season is great, this season is weird/dark but still great.

did i mention it's great?

11-05-2018, 05:59 PM
ironically enough, crowley's post is in keeping with the aesthetic of the whole thing. the dissensus choir was just having a nice sing song and he mows them down with an automatic weapon.

I knew Crowley would hate it, somehow.

I thought I'd hate it too tbh cos I hate nerd rappers appropriating trap for their own purposes but I enjoyed the video. The song is nothing without the video. I do like the Jaws baseline though

11-05-2018, 06:00 PM
Luka will hate it too btw

12-05-2018, 08:24 AM
I mean it works if you have a disregard for the actual value of the rappers he uses as props and signifiers

As I mentioned - I couldn't find anything else that was good by him - or similar.

And it's not "proper" Hip-Hop really is it? It's Pop music. One has to get one's head round that. It's a little like "Papa was a rolling stone" in many regards.

But as for being an abuse of signifiers? Lol. You're saying this black man is not allowed to use the work of other black men to make a point about racial injustice.

It's very similar to MIA in many regards but for me the key difference is the point he is making is absolutely 100% valid. It's not like he's dipping into subcultures to make some fragrant pot-pourri.

Amazing track. Seismic video (even if that has approached something of a consensus).

Postscript: It's the failing of Trap that it hasn't been able to produce something of this cultural power.

12-05-2018, 08:29 AM

Direct from the Motown hit factory.

12-05-2018, 08:56 AM
i dont think i do hate it. ive been loftily avoiding forming an opinion actually.

crowleys is a twitter take formed under an impossible (and distorting) weight of opinions.
it's hard to get heard out there.

12-05-2018, 08:58 AM
twitter is an evolutionary accelerator creating ever hotter takes

12-05-2018, 09:01 AM
woebot on the other hand is at that stage of life where men often feel obligated to push back against the hip
and the radical. it's a form of trolling from the opposite direction. dad trolling.

it's basically an argument between a father and his teenage son with neither occupying an entirely honest position.

12-05-2018, 09:20 AM
a large part of how anyone receives the song will depend on how they believe it to be positioned
in relation to hip-hop proper. is it sneering, mocking, is it a loving tribute, is it a more crafted artistic version of a crude template, is it just another mainstream rap video or whatever

12-05-2018, 09:35 AM

12-05-2018, 09:47 AM
ou're saying this black man is not allowed to use the work of other black men to make a point about racial injustice.

crowley is very explicitly saying gambino is not black enough.

12-05-2018, 09:50 AM
part of it stems from the schism between street rap and underground rap and all the positioning that took place round that initial break i guess. tossing round phrases like respectability politics and so on.

12-05-2018, 09:51 AM
blackness has a mythical resonance for people of all colours.

12-05-2018, 09:55 AM
it represents a whole host of often contradictory things for people. spirituality, resistance, rebel music, the outlaw, sexual potency, nobility in suffering, spontaneous joy, athletic prowess, physical beauty, so on and so forth

psychologically it's a mess...

12-05-2018, 09:57 AM
and im certainly not claiming to be immune or above any of this confusion myself. just pointing out what a mess it is.

padraig (u.s.)
12-05-2018, 10:00 AM
You're saying this black man is not allowed to use the work of other black men to make a point about racial injustice
I understand Crowley to be referring to the entirety of the Gambino project as based entirely off signifiers from rap proper, rather than just this particular track

i.e. it's not that This is America is cynical posturing but that Glover wouldn't be in the position to make it w/o having leaned on rap proper + its signifiers for a decade

until recently he was making non-threatening rap (or whatever u wanna call it) that's whole thing was it's hyper self-awareness of its joke rap status making it kind of real. he is an interesting dude - I can't think of a real precedent for going from nerd outsider to serious (black) cultural figure. or Kanye is the obv one, but Glover has the self-awareness that Kanye seems to completely lack (unless u believe the fanboy theories that it's all a vast I'm Still Here performance art thing). probably partly a generational thing, but partly also not. the SNL performance was almost definitely referencing Kanye premiering "Black Skinhead", and I'm sure the 70s Al Green look (shirtless, tight pants, beard) is a highly conscious reference as well.

I have never been remotely interested in Glover's music - it makes me think of think of grumpy true school heads 10+ years ago complaining about people geeking out on Adult Swim backpack rap, but 1 million times worse - but this is pretty good + even if it's not a shattering revelation like people are making out this country can never have too many people making smart but unequivocal statements on race.

padraig (u.s.)
12-05-2018, 10:02 AM
crowley is very explicitly saying gambino is not black enough.
or in short, this

safe to say until recently his work - musical, acting, etc - was about as deracinated as a black arist's in 2010s U.S.A. can be

12-05-2018, 10:02 AM
should go without saying that being expected to stand for/embody/represent a set of values just by dint of your race is dehumanising in the extreme. and yet this is still a huge part of discourse around black music, explicitly or implicitly.

padraig (u.s.)
12-05-2018, 10:10 AM
Postscript: It's the failing of Trap that it hasn't been able to produce something of this cultural power.
and all due respect to your wide musical knowledge in many areas, but come on man - how much trap do/have you actually listened to?

I don't listen to any trap at all but I'm still 99.99% sure that is wrong - please Crowley, Barty, etc help with actual examples

also it's the same tired argument white music cognoscenti have been making for decades privileging roots over slackness, conscious over gangsta, etc

padraig (u.s.)
12-05-2018, 10:13 AM
still a huge part of discourse around black music, explicitly or implicitly
what I meant above, roots v slackness, gangsta v conscious, etc

every black (+ to a lesser extent other non-white) artist has to grapple with that representation question at some point in a way that white artists virtually never do

you'd indeed think that would go w/o saying at dissensus of all places. frankly I was kinda shocked at that part of Woebot's comment for that very reason.

padraig (u.s.)
12-05-2018, 10:16 AM
tbh if he keeps making stuff like/as good as This Is America, good on him, however he got here.

a fully self-aware post-Kanye is a helluva lot better than the current MAGA slavery was a choice Kanye.

12-05-2018, 10:19 AM
sure im just saying there is another pitfall on the other side of the equation in which blackness is
equated with/reduced down to slack/gangster and everything else deemed as inauthentically black.

is a social reality in which every note played by a black musician gets dragged into these stale binaries regardless of their intentions but, y'know, sad innit

padraig (u.s.)
12-05-2018, 10:27 AM
in which blackness is equated with/reduced down to slack/gangster and everything else deemed as inauthentically black
absolutely. I'm not trying to recreate that binary tbc.

w/earlier Gambino it specifically comes across like the kind of borrowing white rappers often get accused of. or Squarepusher's relationship to jungle proper.

Janelle Monae is a better example to me of a big current figure pushing at the boundaries of "authentic" while still drawing on various afrofuturist tropes.

12-05-2018, 12:17 PM
Postscript: It's the failing of Trap that it hasn't been able to produce something of this cultural power.

That is a gargantuan dismissal and it ignores the fact that this man's celebrity exists far beyond music and not to mention, he is a well-regarded figure outside of that whole genre's audience. He was in essentially one of America's most critically endorsed comedy TV Shows for a few years.

I get the notion of your remark is in the fact that the music should've produced political art that's equivocal or could rival it in some ways which, again, very dismissive of a lot of the politics embedded within that don't require overt presentation, but even in any case you're failing to recognize media visibility and an ease of access he has that a lot of those artists you're claiming have failed to achieve this (if we want to call it a desirable goal) don't.

12-05-2018, 12:31 PM
crowley is very explicitly saying gambino is not black enough.

It has absolutely less to do with his blackness, more to do with his intent. Which is an ultimately conjectural based argument but when you look at his art and the audience who is consuming it (which just to be clear, does not appear to be the same audience as trap) you then have to ask why is it not reaching across rather than simply kind of playfully striking against the people for whom this is a lark and an amusement.

"The gosh darn black plight!"

It's tainted as well in the wake of the Kanye social media antics in that it's instantly heralded with superior value to the lack of art that Kanye's made, or even as far as the lack of satisfaction in art that Kanye's made in recent times. To be clear, the present day rap community has no shortage of artists who are explicitly taking homage from Kanye and moving it in directions more conventional to his older material (Including Gambino in many respects). The strange antagonism of ELIMINATING Kanye because he's "failed" the general public and supplanting him with artists who re-approach older ideas is baffling to me, and that Gambino's video has benefitted from that instantaneous contrast undermines the resonance in that it affirms belief of inequality and danger, not that it challenges.

12-05-2018, 12:55 PM
i want to ignore everyone else and puruse my own tangent for a little while. feel free to ignore me in return.

12-05-2018, 01:03 PM
blackness is such a powerful symbol that everyone wants to co-opt it.
i revived this thread partly becasue it's such a vivid example of that.
political revolutionaries want all black people to be Chuck D
liberals want all black people to be Ta-Nehisi Coates, or like, ?uestlove or something.

12-05-2018, 01:16 PM
black people have come to occupy the role the proletariat did for middle and upper class Marxists.

12-05-2018, 01:39 PM
if i do a list of the top of my head of what black music represents to me and the things i have learned from it...

blithe sophistication (e.g. george benson)
ecstactic religious communion (gospel tradition)
spiritual seeking and aspiration (eg coltrane)
Rebel Music (eg Bob Marley)
the Stag o' Lee archetype
Technical excellence. mastery of musicianship
humanist compassion (eg curtis mayfield)
emotional literacy and expressiveness
righteous anger...
dovetailing into political militancy
extreme altered states and psychedelic voyaging (eg george clinton)
conceptual continuity (clinton again, wu tang)
occulted and hermetic wisdom (wu, sun ra)
libidinal energy and and sexual liberation
ache of unrequited desire
gleeful ignorance/immaturity/id
highbrow, high art, high concept avant gardism (cecil taylor etc)
shameless cornball sentimentality (lionel richie)
warm, organic, natural, unaffected, soulful (on the one hand)
cold, posthuman, hard, uncompromising (on the other)
continuity of tradition and respect for the ancestors (on the one hand)
uncompromising pursuit of the future (on the other)
sophisticated, urbane, louche (on the one hand)
raw, untutored, passionate (on the other)

taken as a whole black music expresses and embodies every potential of the human spirit,
unsuprisingly, given that, taken as a whole, it represents one of the major creative achievements
of civilization. one of the strongest and most vital of all artistic lineages.

but it's not reducible to any one aspect. it can, and does, do everything.

12-05-2018, 02:03 PM
you can have a tweet like this say

which is predicated on an unspoken -black people lol your job is not to be nerds its
to represent a mythic unmediated masculinity to me by mostly talking about
guns and your dick-

12-05-2018, 02:30 PM
hip-hop culture wars
thread is also relevant.

12-05-2018, 02:51 PM
kanye and gambino both profit from the same supposition
that is, that what they do is important because of the platform they have,
not because it is original, startlingly brilliant and unexpected
but becasue it's a famous person doing it. Dean Blunt, (who i have never listened to,)
wouldnt get the same response for the same moves becuase, who the fuck is that\?

12-05-2018, 03:31 PM
not so long ago i heard someone say they hate African music because it doesnt situate itself in an oppositional relationship to Babylon in the way Jamaican music does.

now that's indisputably (and flamboyantly) ignorant and yet valuing and finding inspiration in that oppositional stance is not, in itself, a bad thing. it might lead you to turn into The Clash, but as a starting point i dont consider it contemptible.

what seems more thorny is a failure to grasp that while the image of black people has come, for historical-political reasons, to symbolise resistance (among a 1000 other things) its not an intrinsic biological propety or some sort of moral imperative all black musicians have to live up to (or be declared inauthentically black)

again see zhao et al on the 50cent thread.

12-05-2018, 04:24 PM
kamilia bazzi
‏ @kamiliabazzi
May 8

#ThisIsAmerica will go down in history. Will be played in future classrooms & put in textbooks

Kristina Sullivan
‏ @Stinaaa_sul
May 9

Okay but everyone needs to watch #ThisIsAmerica rn. Like everyone needs to sit and reflect on what happens here and we need to actually fix it

Brennan March
‏ @BrennanMarch
May 8

I think that everyone making memes about about the #ThisIsAmerica video and commenting on how good the dancing is are just furthering the point the video was trying to make. Western society has a serious problem and I think the majority of the public refuses to see that...
1 reply 21 retweets 116 likes
Tiffany Williams
‏ @TiffanyTeaches
May 8

Sza's cameo. She's a woman. She's silent. She's watching us and the action and looking gorgeous while doing it. Could her cameo be a commentary on black women being forced into the "I'm so pretty" role? No adlibs from her. Seen but not heard?#hiphoped #ThisIsAmerica

Mashaal Mir
‏ @MashaalMir
May 9

Did you catch all the themes in Childish Gambino's “#ThisisAmerica”? Check out my piece about the different layers & nuances of the music video

Mizy Musthafa
‏ @MizyMusthafa
May 9

I love Childish Gambino’s #ThisIsAmerica so much - it has given so much for us to delve into. The symbolism, culture, and history.

Not just another song with just another video.
3 replies 29 retweets 126 likes

‏ @_marmaid
May 9

Peep your current favorite "woke" celebrity (w the all seeing eye on his jacket) do the baphomet salute at the Illuminati Ball. #ThisIsAmerica

‏ @Separate_Now
17h17 hours ago

#thisisamerica video - Looking at the white reactions to this video on Youtube, they seem to think this video is just about blk-on-blk crime. Even the choir scene most if not all of them thought it was about something else -e.g Las Vegas shooting. They have ZERO insight/empathy.

Jensen Rubinstein
‏ @Jensensayyys
May 10

Jensen Rubinstein Retweeted INSIDER

This video is truly a piece of art. Childish Gambino for a Pulitzer Prize 🏆 #ThisIsAmerica

12-05-2018, 04:25 PM
Tara L. Samples
‏ @TaraLSamples
May 11

I see Waffle Houses across the country closing in the very near future. Bad management = unemployed employees who need a job to take care of their families. #ThisIsAmerica

12-05-2018, 06:00 PM
Dean Blunt, (who i have never listened to,)
wouldnt get the same response for the same moves becuase, who the fuck is that\?

Irony there.

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/s9MeCh30Hvg" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen></iframe>

Contrast what he says and opines with...


12-05-2018, 06:02 PM
what does it mean?

12-05-2018, 06:10 PM
The BBC are airing Atlanta from the start tomorrow. Sunday, 10pm, BBC2.

12-05-2018, 10:21 PM
1 hour ago
I see a lot of comments praising the 17 seconds of silence as a respectful thing to do but I don’t think that was the point at all. During the 17 seconds you can still hear gunshots and violence happening, then at the end he lights a cigarette apathetically. It shows how 17 seconds does nothing and people don’t really care about it. The 17 seconds happens and violence continues. I believe it’s satire in order to show how useless 17 seconds of silence is as opposed to actually doing something about violence in America
49 minutes ago
Mr .DarkNC
Mr .DarkNC
45 minutes ago
That’s what the shooting is that’s what they heard in the shooting my dude
Oliver 2000
Oliver 2000
43 minutes ago
A song and video designed to give the impression that "this means something" "this means something" when in reality it meant nothing. Says something about society when deliberately inaudible and random incomprehensible lyrics and the strong atmosphere created in this song/video that says "this is deep, provocative and meaningful" is enough for us to fill in our own connotations about racism etc. Watch the lyric video. Look, what they had in mind was how can this song/video be a hit, successful and popular. The 'meaning' was obvious, that people are too focused on dancing and arbitrary things in America and are not seeing the problems in the background. However it was put across very poorly, in fact it wasn't put across. It was actually conforming to society, and would have been more provoking if he had said the opposite of this video, something I kind of respect Kanye for. This is what people want to see. Something that genuinely has a message about society is usually not. What's more the gist of the message was total bullshit, that social media is distracting us from the reality of people getting shot with Kalashnikovs in the background? And if anything shootings get too much attention and are glorified (mainly for personal gain), people across America aren't supposed to just carry on living their life's after things such as the Charleston massacre? But I suppose some meaning can be derived from it and it was a nice video.
35 minutes ago
That is a joint not a cigarette.
30 minutes ago
Pearls before swine.

25 minutes ago
that's a spliff not a cigarette. i like your interpretation of the 17 secs. makes a lot of sense. The spliff is about numbing.

12-05-2018, 10:28 PM
Bubba Hotep
18 minutes ago
Honestly how can anyone understand shit from that garbage. Plus I’m one of those people that gonna go about his day like normal no matter what happens. What is everyone supposed to just stop what they are doing when something bad happens and each person in the world think of ways they could solve that problem. Please that’s the problem with society today. Everyone acts like they care so much and just want what’s best for not just them but everyone. Again please I’d prefer not to see no violence but unless it directly effects me then I don’t give a fuck. Just like the majority of people but a lot of that majority want to put on a show like they care. This video does nothing but show what most people think already. Blacks blame all their problems on someone else and it ain’t never any of their own doing. Take some responsibility and stop with all the world must stop shit when something happens. I got my own problems I ain’t losing sleep over nothing. Especially something happening to other people

Punan Habit
Punan Habit
10 minutes ago
Its hard for most to tell whats really going on behind the gun violence situations in America as depicted in this video, so I'll break it down for you. A communist named "Soros" has funded and promoted most major recent gun violence situations behind the scenes for 1 main purpose... to create a reason to try and strip us of our gun rights - The 2nd Ammendment. Why? So we cant fight back during a time of takeover, which a group of evil people (families) that stem from the progressive liberal left have been planning for over 100 years. Most people are just tools that have been helping to advance the progressive lefts agenda unknowingly for decades. You've been progressed for 1 reason only - to keep you quiet, complacent, and submissive as they carry on with their "fundamental transformation" of America. How? Through your beloved media for one, tarded education system for another, social strife, broken family unit, etc. I know its hard to understand what Im saying here, but these gun violence situations have been planned and staged in the hopes of making enough people think that weapons are evil, so they could garner enough support from voters in order to enact unconstitutional legislation that strips us of our 2nd Ammendment right. You've been used and dont even realize it. What are you gonna do when you cant fight back all of a sudden, cuz you willingly allowed some enemies of the state to fool you into giving your most important protection up... your weapons?? You wont get the chance to get them back afterwards, and we'll wind up like citizens of some other unfortunate countries it has already happened to!

Think outside the box people, and consider what Im telling you, because you wont get it from the mainstream

Ja Herra
Ja Herra
1 minute ago
Bubba Hotep Yes exactly you said the best. He made this song and video to get money nothing more. He crafted it to make all the sheeps go crazy and generate all the buzz because they feel like they have to in order to qualify as a "good person". You will get jumped in the comments because people see you aren't agreeing with their bullshit and they see a great way of getting likes on their comments and in that way they pat each other in their backs for being such great human beings. Everyone acts like they care only because they feel like its the way to get acceptance. And then there are we who feel like we must say/do the opposite everytime to get noticed.

basil and tea leaves
basil and tea leaves
57 minutes ago
I think the last scene where he runs away symbolizes how if someone’s opinion on politics are different, everyone seems to go after that person.

59 minutes ago


13-05-2018, 08:19 AM


Mr. Tea
07-06-2018, 09:59 PM
Donald Glover may have provoked the wrath of Crowley, but this guy is facing legal action from a Nigerian Muslim rights pressure group (http://allafrica.com/stories/201806060012.html):


Not sure who to feel more sorry for.

08-06-2018, 07:40 AM
Still not seen this but his funk/soul album (or at least stay woke) was a 100 times better than any of his half baked/post kanye cringe hip hop stuff. I like him as a personality/actor though. He should do more on that side of things and stop rapping. Musically he's pretty derivative (as a singer he's good but not that distinctive). The music he makes just seems like a side thing he does to show he can.

09-06-2018, 12:03 AM
Seems that the first series of 'Atlanta' (which I started watching tonight -only halfway through, no spoilers please) already did everything that 'This is America' is trying to achieve, but much better. Gets across a hallucinatory and surreal vision of what it is to be black in America in the 21st C - I thought it was/is brilliant, showing not telling.

09-06-2018, 01:50 AM
season 2 is darker and weirder, and they occasionally focus an entire episode on a single character. really good.

10-06-2018, 01:10 PM
started watching Season 2, very into it.

Loved the way Season 1 closed with Outkast's Elevators. Perfectly downbeat. The Migos guest appearance was great too and unexpectedly well done (I'd read nothing about the series beforehand). And the Azealia Banks Snapchat joke...the reality being weirder than anything in the series

10-06-2018, 02:18 PM

10-06-2018, 05:07 PM
Atlanta is the best thing on TV in America by some distance

knocking Orange is the New Black off the pedestal (and its last series went off the rails a little)

Bryan Tyree Henry should get some kind of award for the many shades of exasperation and put upon-ness he brings to the Paper Boi role

10-06-2018, 06:39 PM
Bryan Tyree Henry should get some kind of award for the many shades of exasperation and put upon-ness he brings to the Paper Boi role

season two haircut and forest episodes!

12-06-2018, 09:50 PM
knocking Orange is the New Black off the pedestal (and its last series went off the rails a little)

jfc I know you're British but there's no excuse for thinking OITNB was a top tier TV series.