The first time I heard Childish Gambino’s new album, “Awaken, My Love!” I kid you not, I started crying. Not in a good way. I had been counting down the hours until this album came out, and it was drastically different from what I was expecting. I like Donald Glover, the actor, director, producer, and even comedian, but it is his counterpart Childish Gambino, the rapper, that I love.
Just this year, Glover wrote, produced, and starred in his new show, Atlanta, so he is definitely a man of many talents. I have always respected Glover for his many accomplishments, but it is because of his rap that I am obsessed with him. So when I found out this album was not rap but something as far off from R&B as funk, I freaked out.
About two weeks after the album’s release date, I decided to stop pouting about the death of Gambino as a rapper and try listening to some of his new music. This time, I focused on the rhythm and beat and decided I was into his new style. These songs like “Terrified” and “Redbone” prove that amazing vocals can be added to the list of Gambino’s many talents, and this time I fell in love with him as a singer. I probably listened to “Redbone” at least 500 times the next month.
Still, few artists completely switch genres and many of his fans were curious as to what caused Gambino’s change of heart. He says the deaths of David Bowie and Prince inspired him to be different. This album could not have come at a better time for those still grieving the loss of Prince this past April. Many of Gambino’s new songs like “Baby Boy,” “Me and Your Mama,” and especially “Redbone” closely mimic Prince’s very own style.
Donald Glover is an example to everyone that you can always change your mind and try something new. With ambition and dedication, he proves anything is possible, no matter who you are or where you come from.