The Backbone in Childish Gambino’s New Track ‘Redbone’

About a week ago now, I made a prediction – and it seems to be coming true. When Gambino announced his third LP ‘Awaken My Love!’ and released its first single ‘Me and Your Mama’, there was a marked deviation from his pensive bars and pop leanings – instead, opting for smoky vocal lines and sunburnt guitars. This, I believe, was a welcome addition to his catalogue and luckily – he’s continuing in this vein.

His most recent offering, ‘Redbone’, maintains its airy, synthetic feel; however – this one’s got Eddie Hazel’s sonic blueprint all over it. A gorgeous, whawha guitar riff serves as the track’s backbone, and is complimented by plush keys, twinkling bell trees and soft drums throughout. What really pops on this track, however, is Gambino’s voice – it’s surreal. I have no idea what automation is going on there, but it sounds as if the lovechild of E.T. and Macy Grey laid down these funky vocals – not Donald Glover.

Anyway, whatever Gambino’s doing, he’s having fun with it and not taking himself too seriously. In a recent interview with Billboard, Glover aka Gambino recalls memories as inspiration – “I remember listening to songs my dad would play — albums by the Isleys or Funkadelic — and not understanding the feeling I was feeling.” 

What’s more, he sounds more comfortable than he ever has on wax; despite his proficiency, I don’t think he ever truly identified as a rapper – certainly not with other rappers – and I’m sure ‘Awaken My Love!’ will be the LP that brings this notion to light.