As much as I love the man’s acting work on Community and Atlanta, I never cared for the music Donald Glover made as Childish Gambino. He had a great verse on Chance the Rapper’s Acid Rap mixtape, sure, but other than that? It just never spoke to me.
But the brand new Childish Gambino album, Awaken, My Love, officially came out today–and it is excellent! This speaks to me, friends. This speaks to me all day long.
Instead of making another fairly straightforward hip-hop record, Glover/Gambino has given us his take on the classic sounds of Parliament/Funkadelic, Sly Stone, Isaac Hayes, Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye, the Ohio Players and countless other early funk and soul artists.
Tracks such as “Me and Your Mama” and “Riot” rock, groove, and bounce like they were crafted by George Clinton. If you told me “Baby Boy” was a straight cover of an unreleased Sly Stone tune, I’d believe you. The one song that doesn’t have that sound, “California,” is absolutely bizarre, but in an interesting enough way that I’m willing to give it time to grow on me.
I didn’t see this one coming, guys … but I’m glad it happened. This is a hell of an album.