Childish Gambino, the Grammy-winning musical alter ego of actor Donald Glover, dropped a new song and video over the weekend, the same day he hosted and performed songs on Saturday Night Live.
The new track is titled “This Is America,” and the video, which is shot in almost a single take, takes the viewer on a frightening journey that at first seems to be just involve choreography, before Glover turns and begins shooting his fellow dancers with assault weapons at random.
It’s Gambino’s first release since the 2016 album Awaken, My Love!, which was nominated for a Grammy for Album of the Year. He’s also said his next album as Childish Gambino will be his last under the moniker.
Just a day after Coachella announced their fire lineup (Beyoncé, Radiohead, Kendrick), Governor’s Ball has unveiled their roster, and it’s certainly proving to be a good year for music festivals.
Governor’s Ball will be headlined by such modern music titans as Childish Gambino, fresh off his first season of Atlanta, as well as Chance the Rapper, Lorde, Wiz Khalifa, Phoenix, Wu-Tang Clan, and countless others.
The news of Childish Gambino and Chance headlining together adds fodder to the rumors that the two are working on a special collab – see this Insta for more evidence:
After the droppage of several hints, Childish Gambino’s mixtape, Royalty, dropped today. And much of the buzz seems to be less about the content of the mixtape itself, but more the fact that there are more celebrity guest appearances on this thing than a Jerry Lewis All-Star Telethon. Haim, RZA and Ghostface are in the building, along with Schoolboy Q and Ab-Soul of Black Hippy, Nipsey Hussle and production from Boi 1-da and Beck, who appears on "Silk Pillow." One of the best guest spots is from Detroit’s Danny Brown, who goes in hard over a beat sampled from Britney Spears’ "Toxic."
Closer "Real Estate" doesn’t seem like anything special save for a bit of "real estate"/"realest state" wordplay and it goes on a bit too long, but then hark! Five minutes in, there’s a guest appearance from Glover’s fellow NBC funny person and 30 Rock collaborator, Tina Fey, who steps it up and delivers a rap verse exactly how you would expect Tina Fey to deliver a guest mixtape rap verse:
"Yeah we in here, we in this thing, Gambino is forever, royalty is forever
We ballin’ till we fuckin up the hardwood, homie
This the life we live, son
My president is black and my Prius is blue, motherfucker
Royalty all day, we droppin’ racks at Nordstrom, son
That’s racks on racks damn it
you feel me? You feel me?
This is the part where most people would say something crazy and drop the n-word after it
Not going to, I’m not going to do that, I don’t feel comfortable!
The Nordstrom line is pretty excellent, but what people on the Internet will most likely be talking about is how she closes out her verse, especially with the ever-revolving discourse around hipster racism and ironic usage of said word. But yeah, good on Tina for taking a pass on this one. Have a listen below.
Of course, this isn’t Tina’s first time stepping up to the mic. In addition to writing Kevin Gnapoor’s high-school-suggestive rap in Mean Girls, on 30 Rock, she appeared as "Lemonem" on an Apollo Theater talent show (it went about as well as you could imagine) and gave Avery Jessup, fresh from North Korea, the "12-Month Rap-Up." And there will probably be many more raps to come.
While you were freaking out about this new Lana Del Rey video with A$AP Rocky, pretty much everyone on the Internet (or at least on Twitter), a bunch of other new tracks hit the airwaves and interwebs. Here are just a few of them.
Childish Gambino – One Up
"You ain’t likin’ what we doin’?" Donald Glover asks on Childish Gambino’s latest track. "Shut up." As a refrain, it’s a pretty simple and clear message to detractors of Childish Gambino’s music, but for the actor-rapper-comedian-prospective-Spider-Man’s fans, it’s a sign of greater things to come. Glover announced the release of the anticipated Childish Gambino mixtape, Royalty, which drops July 4th.
Big Boi – Gossip (feat. UGK and Big K.R.I.T.)
So far, the second released track from Big Boi’s upcoming Sir Lucious Left Foot followup, Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors, is mostly only available as a radio rip, which means it’s full of tags as well as two pretty fantastic featured performers. It’s not as ridiculous as the first release, "She Said OK," a porn-groove parody collab with Theophilus London, but what it is is catchy, with a minimal but effective beat and a brain-burrowing earworm of a hook. Listen over at Rap Radar.
Little Dragon – Sunshine
The soothing Swedes of Little Dragon frolic in a field in outfits that make some them sort of look like lost members of the Night’s Watch for the video for their lovely, atmospheric, pan-flute-tinged new track "Sunshine." The track was recorded as a singel to promote the new ABSOLUT Punch vodka drink and celebrate creative cocktailing, but we think they would have been a better spokesband for Bacardi Dragon Berry. I’ll just let myself out.
WHY? – Sod in the Seed
On the title track from WHY?’s upcoming new EP, Yoni Wolf reflects on pulling "up to Critical Mass / in a gas-guzzling Ford" and "throwing out his lumbar picking up checks." The clever rhymes are plentiful, as is the ribbing at the notion of "First World Problems," all set to a background of strumming and clinking percussion. In addition to the new EP, which drops August 14th, WHY? will be embarking on a pretty hefty tour of the United States and Europe, beginning August 24th with a stop in Columbia, Missouri. Supporters include Anticon labelmates Doseone, Jel and Serengeti.
So it’s only Monday and there’s already an influx of new music for you to get through. Earlier today, we told you about Shia LaBoeuf’s crazy new role in a Sigur Ros video, "rap game Taylor Swift" Kitty Pryde and a stacked-upon-stacked Fleetwood Mac tribute album featuring Best Coast, the New Pornographers and more. Oh, and some dude named Paul McCartney turned 70 today, which is a big deal, or something.
Cat Power – "Sun"
There was buzz for a while about a new Cat Power album for a while, but Chan Marshall will release Sun, her first album of new material since 2007’s The Greatest, on Sept. 4th on Matador. A video was released today introducing first single "Ruin," a catchy, driving geography lessons (countries all over the globe get name-dropped). There’s not much to the video, but it’s worth it to check out the new song.
Childish Gambino – "Shoulda Known"
The Rapper Otherwise Known as Donald Glover/Troy Barnes has been leaking collaborations with the likes of Heems and Beck, all with fans speculating the imminent release of a mixtape. Here’s the latest in a long line of hints. Listen over at Complex.
Twin Shadow – "Five Seconds"
George Lewis Jr., the brains behind Twin Shadow, based the video for his new track, "Five Seconds," on a novel he co-wrote called Night of the Silver Sun. And the whole thing has a very cinematic quality to it, from the tough-guy voiceover to the epic motorcycle ride through the woods to a fight with shirtless masked baddies. The Keith Musil-directed clip appeared on a massive billboard in Times Square as part of the Art Takes Times Square project.
This isn’t new by any means, but now it’s, like, official or something. This has been your weekly reminder that Fiona Apple’s new album, The Idler Wheel Is Wiser than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More than Ropes Will Ever Do, is now out (as of Friday), and that there’s now a video for the first single, "Every Single Night," as well. Still got it.
This year’s Super Bowl halftime show, featuring Madonna, M.I.A., and Nicki Minaj, is pretty good compared to the usual classic rock dinosaur they trot out on the stage. But God forbid, what if they were suddenly unable to perform thanks to a hamstring injury or lightning strike? This 30 Rock animated short dares to ask that question, with a cartoon Jack Donaghy gathering three singers to audition for the hypothetically vacant show. Rather amusingly, he invites alt-country balladeer Ryan Adams, rapper/comedy star Childish Gambino, and dad rock supremecist Michael McDonald to make their best case. Via E! Online, watch the video after the jump.
As always, 30 Rock‘s take on the media landscape remains accurately depressing. Would C-Lo Green singing the BJ and the Bear theme song really overrule a more entertaining alternative? Yes, yes it would.
Das Racist rapper Heems is well established as a goofy dude, but his newest project is wholeheartedly on the level: he’s released a free mixtape entitled Nehru Jackets in alliance with SEVA NY, an organization looking to raise awareness about political redistricting in Queens. Speaking to the New York Observer earlier this month, he said, “This is a record where, doing it myself and not in Das Racist, I talk more about myself and my experiences being an Indian kid from Queens, and even before I met SEVA that’s in large part what the record was about." You can download the mixtape for free, but Heems encourages you to make a donation.
There’s appearances from Danny Brown, Action Bronson, Mr. Muthafuckin’ eXquire, and Das Racist partner Kool A.D., among others. ”Listen to "Womyn 2," featuring Childish Gambino, below. Quoth Gambino, "Can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em / It seems like we like them, we always rap about them." Hard to argue with that.