What You Might Have Missed In Childish Gambino’s ‘This Is America’ (ROTW)

That this particular jam was released a matter of days after Kanye’s now infamous quote on four hundred years of slavery being a ‘choice’, doesn’t seem like a coincidence but rather a perfectly timed release.

While speaking to TMZ, Kanye referenced slavery saying;

”When you hear about slavery for 400 years — for 400 years? That sounds like a choice. Like, you were there for 400 years and it’s all of you?”

Naturally, those comments have made Kanye the talk of the month, with everyone online (ordinary people and celebrities alike) talking about issues revolving around the existence of white supremacists and the oppression of people of color.

Since that has been the running conversation online, it would therefore seem appropriate that Childish Gambino, release ‘This Is America’, a jam that seems to encapsulate all of those issues in a thrilling, melodic and dance filled rap single.

Since Donald Glover has had quite the experience in writing and producing intelligent scripts for hit TV shows such as ‘Community’ and ‘Atlanta’, it’s really no surprise that he chooses clever imagery to pass on very important issues.

Directed by Hiro Murai, ‘This is America’ is a four minute long music video which I’ve so far learnt, has many hidden meanings. I’m now going to share the few that I managed to find out about in a short play by play.

Gun Violence;

Lyrics; ‘Guns in my area, I gotta carry ’em’

Throughout the video, Childish Gambino is seen shooting people but what you may have missed out on, is the fact that in each instance the gun he uses is taken away from him by someone who appears to be holding a cloth and treating the gun with the utmost care. For some, this is taken as a rhetoric on the ongoing battle on Gun Laws in America, where people have often felt that guns are treated a lot better than (in some cases) people.

 

 

Racism;

Lyrics: This is America, Don’t catch you slippin up.

If there’s one thing you definitely note right off the bat with this music video, it’s that while there is all this dancing happening, there is also a lot of chaos going on around the whole time. One YouTube reviewer cited that it may have been a reference to black America being acknowledged only in terms of its contribution to urban culture e.g. through dance, all while the main issues that affect them (i.e. police brutality, gun violence etc) take the back seat.

Also at the start of the video, Childish Gambino shoots his first victim while assuming a comical stance, that was quickly turned into this meme, which I happened upon on Snoop Dogg’s instagram.

The thing is though, this ‘comical stance’ was believe it or not, a historical reference to Jim Crow.

 

 

Wikipedia.

Jim Crow — definition — a theater character by Thomas D. Rice and an ethnic depiction in accordance with contemporary Caucasian ideas of African-Americans and their culture.

Jim Crow laws were state and local laws that enforced racial segregation in the Southern United States.

Seen in the video, this depiction is probably the strongest and loudest reference to racism. In the video, Childish Gambino makes erratic face movements that from research, were the same facial expressions that white actors (in black face) would make as a mockery of what they thought the then freed African-American slaves looked like and behaved.

 

Homage to music and dance made by Africans and African Americans;

The jam itself houses ad libs by some of raps iconic names from Young Thug, to 21 Savage, and in the video, it is being said that Childish Gambino’s choice to be shirtless wearing only two chains is an homage to Fela Kuti. 

Also, yes. Childish Gambino absolutely bodies the Shoki and the Gwara Gwara in ‘This Is America’, both of which are popular African dances.

Suicide;

Not too long ago, Logic and Alessia Cara graced our Record of the Week with the jam whose title was a suicide hotline number. Perhaps referencing mental health and how America is plagued by the sheer number of suicide victims, at 2:13, there is a man who is seen to be leaping to his death all while the singing and the dancing continues.

Bible reference;

The fact that this four minute long video even had time to feature a bible reference is to me, the actual testament to Childish Gambino’s epic story telling and producing skills.

In the book of Revelation, there is a verse that states; 

Then I looked and saw a pale horse. Its rider’s name was Death, and Hades followed close behind.

Hades was the Greek god of the underworld (hell). Like earlier mentioned, there are plenty of hidden messages in the video and the fact that at 2:36, there is a hooded figure riding a white horse while a police car follows behind, might be the imagery that reflects that particular bible verse.

 

Truth be told, there are many more messages one can find in the video to ‘This Is America’, a video that has currently garnered (as of today) over forty million views in under a week.

What can definitely be said and applauded though, is the stark difference between the amount of black history and current information that Childish Gambino seems to have, and the lack thereof when it comes to Kanye West’s recent comments about slavery.

As it’s now your record of the week (ROTW), here is the music video to ‘This is America’ (Which will be followed by the song’s lyrics.)

 

LYRICS TO ‘THIS IS AMERICA’ BY CHILDISH GAMBINO
 
 
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, go, go away
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, go, go away
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, go, go away
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, go, go away

We just wanna party
Party just for you
We just want the money
Money just for you
I know you wanna party
Party just for me
Girl, you got me dancin’ (yeah, girl, you got me dancin’)
Dance and shake the frame
We just wanna party (yeah)
Party just for you (yeah)
We just want the money (yeah)
Money just for you (you)
I know you wanna party (yeah)
Party just for me (yeah)
Girl, you got me dancin’ (yeah, girl, you got me dancin’)
Dance and shake the frame (you)

This is America
Don’t catch you slippin’ up
Don’t catch you slippin’ up
Look what I’m whippin’ up
This is America (woo)
Don’t catch you slippin’ up
Don’t catch you slippin’ up
Look what I’m whippin’ up

This is America (skrrt, skrrt, woo)
Don’t catch you slippin’ up (ayy)
Look at how I’m livin’ now
Police be trippin’ now (woo)
Yeah, this is America (woo, ayy)
Guns in my area (word, my area)
I got the strap (ayy, ayy)
I gotta carry ’em
Yeah, yeah, I’ma go into this (ugh)
Yeah, yeah, this is guerilla (woo)
Yeah, yeah, I’ma go get the bag
Yeah, yeah, or I’ma get the pad
Yeah, yeah, I’m so cold like yeah (yeah)
I’m so dope like yeah (woo)
We gon’ blow like yeah (straight up, uh)

Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, tell somebody
You go tell somebody
Grandma told me
Get your money, Black man (get your money)
Get your money, Black man (get your money)
Get your money, Black man (get your, Black man)
Get your money, Black man (get your, Black man)
Black man

This is America (woo, ayy)
Don’t catch you slippin’ up (woo, woo, don’t catch you slippin’, now)
Don’t catch you slippin’ up (ayy, woah)
Look what I’m whippin’ up (Slime!)
This is America (yeah, yeah)
Don’t catch you slippin’ up (woah, ayy)
Don’t catch you slippin’ up (ayy, woo)
Look what I’m whippin’ up (ayy)

Look how I’m geekin’ out (hey)
I’m so fitted (I’m so fitted, woo)
I’m on Gucci (I’m on Gucci)
I’m so pretty (yeah, yeah)
I’m gon’ get it (ayy, I’m gon’ get it)
Watch me move (blaow)
This a celly (ha)
That’s a tool (yeah)
On my Kodak (woo, Black)
Ooh, know that (yeah, know that, hold on)
Get it (get it, get it)
Ooh, work it (21)
Hunnid bands, hunnid bands, hunnid bands (hunnid bands)
Contraband, contraband, contraband (contraband)
I got the plug en Oaxaca (woah)
They gonna find you that blocka (blaow)

Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, tell somebody
America, I just checked my following list and
You go tell somebody
You mothafuckas owe me
Grandma told me
Get your money, Black man (Black man)
Get your money, Black man (Black man)
Get your money, Black man (get your, Black man)
Get your money, Black man (get your, Black man)
Black man
One, two, get down
Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, tell somebody
You go tell somebody
Grandma told me, “Get your money”
Get your money, Black man (Black man)
Get your money, Black man (Black man)
Get your money, Black man (Black man)
Get your money, Black man (Black man)
Black man

You just a Black man in this world
You just a barcode, ayy
You just a Black man in this world
Drivin’ expensive foreigns, ayy
You just a big dawg, yeah
I kenneled him in the backyard
No probably ain’t life to a dog
For a big dog

Lethal Bizzle Returns To ROTW With ‘Flex’

When last he was on ROTW (Record of the Week), Lethal Bizzle had just delivered the bass heavy club banger that was ‘Fester Skunk’.

Fester Skank Lyrics — In part:

You might see me in a Lambo
Camo snapback, Rambo
500 horses, Django
2 2 chicken, Nando
You might see me in a Rari
Old school fella, Atari
It’s a new dance, no tango
Anywhere I go, I make the gang go

Featuring the seemingly oversimplified rhymes that thereafter made the song a perfect sing along, ‘Fester Skank’ rose quickly in charts and while it was later overtaken by even bigger bangers, Lethal Bizzle is taking back his crown with ‘Flex’.

It’s got that bass and that flow that we love him for, ‘Flex’ takes over from Nicki’s ‘Chun Li’ which is still doing heavy rounds on radio airwaves across the world.

Listen to ‘Flex’ below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1_FRxULYug

Nicki Minaj aka Miss King Kong Gets On ROTW With ‘Chun Li’

Whether the assumed beef between Nicki Minaj and Cardi B is real, Nicki Minaj only just released a few songs right at the time when Cardi B seems to be enjoying her rise to fame and the success of her album ‘Invasion of Privacy’, and one of those jams has just enjoyed a week’s airplay as Record of the Week (ROTW).

Referring to herself as a worldly popular video game character Chun Li, Nicki Minaj definitely delivers on ‘Chun Li’, talking up her musical success in lyrics that go…

Ayo, look like I’m goin’ for a swim
Dunk on ’em, now I’m swingin’ off the rim
Bitch ain’t comin’ off the bench
While I’m comin’ off the court fully drenched
Here, get some haterade, get ya thirst quenched
Styled on ’em in this Burberry trench
These birds copy every word, every inch
But gang gang got the hammer and the wrench (brrr)
I pull up in that quarter milli off the lot
Oh, now she tryna be friends like I forgot
Show off my diamonds like I’m signed by the Roc
Ain’t pushin’ out his babies ’til he buy the rock

 

This track came out almost at the same time as her Beats 1 Radio interview with Zane Lowe who got Nicki to talk about her beef with Cardi B, to which the rapper said; 

“The first interview she did, it just hurt me because she looked so aggravated and angry. She just kept saying she didn’t hear it…I was like, What? ….Up until this recent interview she did, I had never seen her show me genuine love in an interview,”

Well Chun Li is clearly Nicki’s statement that she really is back and what’s more, Nicki may have just made history for its music video which is filmed entirely in selfie mode.

 

 

Drake Stuns On ROTW With Star Studded ‘Nice For What’

The world might still be recovering from Cardi B fever but if there’s a particular project that is shining through regardless, it’s Drake’s ‘Nice For What’ single.

‘Nice For What’ dropped complete with a video that enjoys cameos from some of Hollywood’s top women including Olivia Wilde, Yara Shahidi, Zoe Saldana, Tracee Ellis Ross, Issa Rae and even Blank Panther actress Letitia Wright.

The four minute long single samples from Lauryn Hill’s mega hit ‘Ex Factor’ and is currently enjoying 15 million views on YouTube (as of today).

Just like ‘God’s Plan’, ‘Nice For What’ is also empowering, featuring lyrics like…

You been inside, know you like to lay low
I’ve been peepin’ what you bringin’ to the table
Workin’ hard, girl, everything paid for
First, last phone bill, car note, cable

With your phone out, gotta hit them angles
With your phone out, snappin’ like you Fabo
And you showin’ off, but it’s alright
And you showin’ off, but it’s alright
It’s a short life, yeah

See how many familiar faces you spot in this video.

Nice For What – Drake

We Called It! Tinashe’s New Single Now ROTW

Following hot on the heels of her last release, Offset featured ‘No Drama’, Tinashe is now on Record of the Week (ROTW) with her latest release ‘Me So Bad’.

This after we’d listed a number of new singles that we projected to be ROTW this week, seems we were right in choosing this Ty Dolla $ign and French Montana collabo (‘Me So Bad’) as one in the number.

‘Me So Bad’ has an uptempo vibe to it which is very playful and catchy, plus, it dropped with it’s accompanying video which matches the jam’s energy with a bright color palate and sultry visuals. 

Released this Easter weekend, ‘Me So Bad’ features lyrics such as …

I know you want my free time
I know that we don’t play that, that, that, that
I’m walking on a thin line
I’m hoping that it break, break, break, break, break
I’m tryna give you FaceTime, yeah
Don’t mean you wanna wait, wait, wait, wait, wait
I wanna better bassline, I wanna better bassline

 

Here’s the dope video to it.

 

Brand New Singles That Could Be ROTW This Week

Every week, we give one jam the honor of enjoying a week’s long heavy airplay on HBR.

Last week the honor was Rich The Kid’s ‘Plug Walk’ but as we are yet to have a ROTW for this week, we thought it best to list a couple of new singles that may just be next in line.

Konshens – ‘Big Belly’ ft Rick Ross & Rvssian)

Though not quite your usual Caribbean flavoured jam, it has been quite some time since we featured a Jamaican artist on ROTW and this single which features Maybach Music mogul Rick Ross, definitely plays into our strengths being that it is a Hip Hop single. 

‘Me So Bad’ by Tinashe ft Ty Dolla $ign and French Montana

Following her ‘No Drama’ single featuring Migos super star Offset, Tinashe might be on ROTW with this playful jam ‘Me So Bad’. It’s uptempo which makes for an almost definite banger with the added advantage of featuring HBR staple artists Ty Dolla and F Montana. 

 

‘Love Struck’ by WSTRN, Tiwa Savage and Mr. Eazy.

Wouldn’t be the first time that this UK based RnB crew made it onto ROTW having had their single ‘Textin’ become ROTW. The crew seem to be targeting that spot with their latest release which is a collaboration with West African stars Tiwa Savage and Mr. Eazy.

‘Suicidal’ by Diplo ft Desiigner.

This Major Lazer producer and deejay never disappoints when it comes to producing hit singles and this new one he’s come out with features Trap star Desiigner.

Seems likely to get onto ROTW. 

 

It’s All About The ‘Plug Walk’ By Rich The Kid on ROTW

A week after Swae Lee’s ‘Hurt To Look’ single, we can now enjoy five long days of having Rich The Kid’s ‘Plug Walk’ as ROTW (Record of the Week).

Rich the Kid has a debut album, ‘The World Is Yours’, about to drop, an album we hear is set to feature artists like Chris Brown, Kendrick Lamar, Lil Wayne, and (as reported by Rap Up, possible collaborations with Kanye West, Migos and Frank Ocean. 

It’s from that album that we now have the three minute something single ‘Plug Walk’ which is complete with a music video that samples heavily from hit TV Series ‘Breaking Bad’, in which Rich The Kid plays Heisenberg.

Check it out;

 

 

The jam features lyrics such as;You can’t reach me (what?), space coupe like E.T
It’s the plug tryna call me (skrrt, skrrt)
I was up trappin’ early in the morning (plug)
Ooh, on the wave like a du-rag (du-rag)
Pussy nigga callin’ for his boo back (pussy)
Plug walk, Gucci on my shoe racks (Gucci)
Walk up in the house with a rat-a-tat

 

Swae Lee Holds Fort on ROTW With ‘Hurt To Look’

Tra duo Rae Sremmurd, made up of Swae Lee and Slim Jxmmy,  are preparing the release of their joint album SR3MM, which will be a three disc project featuring each of their respective solo albums.

It’s from Swae Lee’s solo album ‘Swaecation’ that we receive the banger ‘Hurt To Look’ which follows the release of his brother Slim Jxmmy’s ‘Brxnks Truck’ which debuted on HBR officially, on the Wednesday Jam Session #JSHBR.

‘Hurt To Look’ becomes Swae Lee’s added stay on ROTW, having enjoyed being there with French Montana on French’s ‘Unforgettable’ single.

The jam features lyrics like…

 can feel the weight of what you say (ooh, ooh)
I had explanations for days (ooh, ooh)
Don’t think you’re the only one that’s sane
It seems like we’re not on the same page
All I do is think when I’m away (away)
Colors burst and all I see are shapes (hey!)
Sun goes away and that’s when I call your name (your name)
She’s here for good, and I’m here to stay

If you haven’t already seen the video, here it is.

Afro Wave Maestro Afro B Makes a ROTW Debut

ROTW – Record of the Week

He is an Italian -German raised star of Eritrean decent and Afro B got his artist name from being synonymous with Afrobeats and his most iconic works are his Afrowave mixtapes (of which he has only one).

From his upcoming Afrowave mixtape ‘Afrowave 2’, Afro B’s critically acclaimed  jam ‘Drogba’ (Joana) is now ROTW, taking the reigns from DJ Khaled’s ‘Top Off’ which was ROTW all week last week.

‘Drogba’ features Afro B’s iconic afrobeats feel and catchy chorus which really is the name ‘Joana’ sang repeatedly.

Produced by Team Salut, here is ‘Drogba’.

 

DJ Khaled Returns to ROTW With Some Familiar Faces

DJ Khaled has had his fair share of stay on ROTW, the last time being thanks to his Beyonce and Jay Z featured jam ‘Shinning’.

This iconic producer is said to have gone as far as relocating to New York just to try and bag himself a Jay Z Beyonce collabo and seeing as how ‘Shining’ was ridiculously successful, it makes sense that he thought to record and release yet another single with the power couple, a single we now know as ‘Top Off’.

The joint single also features Trap Music king Future and while we may still be holding it in comparison with ‘Shining’, ‘Top Off’ is its own banger with notable verses from all three acts including Beyonce who channels her inner rapper and shows out with lyrics like;

I’m the only lady here, still the realest nigga in the room
I break the internet, top two and I ain’t number two
My body, my ice, my cash, all real, I’m a triple threat
Fuck it up and then leave, come back, fuck it up and leave again

‘Top Off’ took over ROTW from Post Malone’s second stay at that spot and is currently enjoying world-wide airplay.

Have you listened to it?

Here you go!