We’re sure you’ve heard the news already, but if you haven’t yet well, brace yourself. Comedian, actor, writer, producer and Grammy-nominated rapper Donald Glover is dropping his music alter-ego Childish Gambino after his next album. He’s hinted about quitting his musical career time and time again, but we think he’s for real this time.
At the end of his set at New York City’s Governor’s Ball Music Festival last Saturday, he closed the festival by bidding his fans farewell with, “I’ll see you for the last Gambino album.” He then followed it with an interview two days after explaining how he doesn’t find it “necessary” to pursue music anymore.
We’re sad to hear him go, but we’ve got our fingers crossed that he’ll still sing and rap given a different pseudonym.
In celebration of his thriving musical career so far, we looked back through years and picked out eight songs from his seven mixtapes, two EPs and three studio albums that best represent the milestones of his career as Childish Gambino.
“I’m A Winner (feat. Amber Petty)”
A track from his debut mixtape Sick Boi (2008), “I’m A Winner (feat. Amber Petty)” best depicts his humble beginnings as an “underdog”. Here he raps verses jam packed with heavy punchlines, but doesn’t forget to add a different element to it with female vocals—which eventually becomes an essential aspect to his career moving forward.
“Freaks and Geeks”
Straight out of Gambino’s first ever EP appropriately titled EP (2011), “Freaks and Geeks” is not only known for being his first single to get a music video, but it’s the song that proved that Childish Gambino was more than just a side project. This song mapped him out as a hip-hop artist and became key to his success today.
A song that serves as the official introduction to Gambino’s rap career, “Bonfire”, the lead single to his debut album Camp (2011), features Gambino aggressively rapping about women and how despite his frustrations as an actor and rapper, being the best in the rap game. He spits, “Why does every black actor gotta rap some? I don’t know, all I know is I’m the best one.”
“Eat Your Vegetables”
Gambino’s first release since his debut album Camp, “Eat Your Vegetable” is a song that was originally made for his sixth mixtape Royalty (2012), but didn’t make the cut. The song is credited for its lyrical play that twists pop culture references to metaphorical punchlines with comedic undertones.
From Gambino’s Grammy-nominated second album, Because the Internet (2013), “V. 3005” is the first single out of the album and also the song that got him a Grammy nomination for the Best Rap Performance. His distinct rapping style caught the attention of not only his fans but the hip-hop community.
Another output from Gambino’s sophomore album Because the Internet (2013), “IV. Sweatpants” is arguably his best rap song. Producing some of the most memorable rhymes since he started in 2008, his unconventional lyrical flow is put into the works; the song has also turned heads with the ending snippet of his now renowned falsetto.
Released in the height of his acting career for playing Troy Barnes on sitcom Community, “Sober” from his EP slash mixtape STN MTN / Kauai (2014), showcases Gambino’s then overlooked singing skills. His sugary falsetto and genre-bending melancholic tunes hit all the right spots.
Funk ballad “Redbone” from Gambino’s latest album Awaken, My Love! (2016), is his highest charting single to land on the Billboard charts to date. Currently sitting at No.17, the slow jam touches upon the topics of love, lust and attachments. It’s also become the new victim of meme culture, with different versions going viral online. Here’s our favorite.
Photo from The Governor’s Ball via Flickr