Donald Glover, also known as Childish Gambino, has had an incredible second-half of 2016. In June, he was cast in the new Spider-Man film that releases in 2017. September saw not only the premiere of his critically-acclaimed series Atlanta on FX, but also a unique audio-visual concert entitled PHAROS in the deserts of California. Last month Glover was confirmed to be playing none other than Lando Calrissian in the untitled Han Solo spin-off film that comes out in 2018. The man is clearly multi-talented and this is only proven further with his new single, from the upcoming album “Awaken, My Love!”
Frequent collaborator and producer Ludwig Göransson helps Gambino lay down a gorgeous instrumental that switches up after the two-minute mark. ‘Me and Your Mama’[5/5] starts with a spacy, flurry of notes with a child-like innocence, soon accompanied by a dreamy female chant that acts as the primary vocal element in this half of the track. As soon as the lead synth melody comes in, I close my eyes and imagine myself drifting through the aether. This is the kind of multi-layered track that you listen to whilst sitting on the bonnet of your car on the top floor of a car park as you look out over a well-lit city at night.
A third of the way through the song the beat changes in an almost jarring manner. I’m no longer floating through space in my mind, I’m at the front of a neo-psychedelic rock concert. The guitar riff pierces my soul, providing a stark contrast to the previous blissful experience. I’m hooked on every line that is being shout-screamed at me (“This is the end of us”). There is no doubt that this is one of Gambino’s most impressive vocal performances as he flows seamlessly between harsh shout-singing and a smoother R&B cadence that we’ve heard on his previous projects like Kauai.
The final third of ‘Me and Your Mama’ returns to a dream-like instrumental in a cathartic manner. This is one of Childish Gambino’s best songs to date. I can only imagine what the rest of “Awaken, My Love!” will sound like but it seems as if Gambino has fully strayed from the realms of hip hop, and perhaps for the better.