Review: Childish Gambino – ‘This Is America’


Just when you think you've seen it all, Childish Gambino returns with a bang, making a statement and dropping the best single of his career.

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Rapper, singer, actor, writer, comedian and all round ridiculously talented superstar Donald Glover, AKA Childish Gambino, is on the fast track to being the world’s next megastar. His critically acclaimed, awards nominated third album “Awaken, My Love!” launched the artist onto a new level, expanding his sound and showing a much more diverse side to the previously SoundCloud rap-esque nature of some of his earlier work. Make no mistake about it, Gambino is one hell of a talent, but, outside of ‘Redbone’ and ‘3005’, he’s not necessarily had a big, unique hit to further himself as an artist.

That’s where ‘This Is America’ comes in. Hot take incoming: It’s the best song of 2018.

Easing in with a Hawaiian guitar-like lick, accompanied with gospel choir vocals, Gambino sings “We just wanna party/Party just for you”, seemingly setting up an innocent, chilled tune. But the sudden shift is executed perfectly, the beat kicking off with the bass reverberating and the guitar taking a darker turn. “This is America/Don’t catch you slippin’ up”, says Gambino, and suddenly the harsher message of the song shines through. This beat and structure loops through for the rest of the song, with the final refrain combining the gospel vocals with the trap instrumentals for a complex, layered outro.

On a purely instrumental basis, it’s still Gambino’s strongest and most unique track. But add in the lyrics and it tells a deeper tale, one of the relationship between black art and suffering, and gun violence in America. The video is a whole article in of itself, with every frame packing in detail that demands multiple viewings and further analysis.

Overall, though, this is art. Ironic, satirical, clever, catchy, Childish Gambino has us eating out of the palm of his hand.

‘This is America’ is available now via RCA Records.


About Author

The Edge's Film Editor 2017-2018, David has an unabashed love for all things Dave Grohl, Jack Black and Lord of the Rings. A compulsive liar who shouldn't be trusted, David once beat legendary actor David Hasselhoff in a hot dog eating contest and is best friends with Metallica bassist Robert Trujillo, they speak on the phone three times a week.

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