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

Listen To Migos New Track: “What The Price”

American Hip Hop group Migos has unleashed a new track called “What the Price,” off their upcoming album “Culture”

 “What’s the price? Prices goin’ up,” they sing.

 

The Atlanta trio have been getting much love of late with the album’s lead single “Bad and Boujee” reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 shortly after Donald Glover declared it the best song ever during the 2017 Golden Globes. 

Takeoff, Quavo, and Offset—who just performed on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”—lay down Auto-Tuned melodies over a trap-rock beat.

In addition to their chart-topping hit “Bad and Boujee,” Culture features appearances from DJ Khaled, 2 Chainz, and Travis Scott.

While Trey Songz is not on the album, the R&B star may have inspired the title. 

Screen Shot 2017-01-20 at 13.12.00

They are set to drop the album in a weeks time.

migos-culture-340x330

Listen to “What the Price” below.

Donald Glover Inks FX Production Deal

Fresh off his two Golden Globe wins, the acclaimed writer/singer/actor/Migos fan has just signed a new production deal with FX. Under the partnership, Childish Gambino will be developing new series for FX Networks, other networks, and streaming services.

FX’s president of original programming Nick Grad sang Glover’s praises. “Donald is a remarkable artist, effortlessly shifting from actor to writer, producer, director and musician to create one amazing project after another,” said Grad. “‘Atlanta’ was just the beginning, the breakout comedy of the year and a series revered as much for its originality as its honest look at the experience of being aspiring, young and black in that legendary city. We’re proud to partner with Donald in an overall deal that will allow him to continue turning his creative vision into incredible television.”

On Sunday, Glover won Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical for his work on “Atlanta.” The show’s cast also celebrated a win in the Best Television Series – Comedy or Musical category.

“Atlanta” became one of the biggest shows on television last year in its inaugural season. FX says it was “basic cable’s most-watched new comedy in three years among adults ages 18-49” and “the highest-rated comedy in FX Networks’ history.” But “Atlanta” fans may not be happy to hear that the series won’t be returning for a second season until 2018 due to Glover’s busy schedule.

In addition to all of the above, Glover’s got plenty of other gigs. As Gambino, he recently released his album Awaken, My Love! and he’s also slated to appear as young Lando in the upcoming Han Solo Star Wars film.

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Eugene Gecaga

Donald Glover Shouted Out Migos In His Golden Globe Acceptance Speech

At the 2017 Golden Globe Awards, Donald Glover’s new comedy series Atlanta was up for Best TV Series for a comedy or musical against Blackish, Mozart in the Jungle, Transparent, and Veep.

When the announcement was made that Atlanta took the honor, Donald Glover, the cast, and the team behind the show came on stage with beaming smiles. In disbelief, Glover started out by exclaiming, “This is incredible! [laughs] Wow.” After taking the time to thank the writers and actors involved, Glover began making some more unconventional shoutouts.

“I really just want to thank Atlanta and all the black folks in Atlanta, like ferreal. Just for being alive and being amazing people. I couldn’t be here without Atlanta,” he began. Then he thanked Migos on the Golden Globe stage.

“I really wanna thank the Migos, not for being in the show, but for making “Bad and Boujee.” That’s the best song ever.”