Photo Credit: Sharon Alagna
Admittedly, some listeners and fans alike may be in for a surprise to find the latest release from Childish Gambino to be a little less well, uh, “childish”, and perhaps much more hmmm, lets say Donald Glover? After confirming a December release for the artist’s third studio album, Gambino continues to up-the-ante with the track drop of “Redbone”. The track, contrary to previous mainstream hits by the artist, sings the praises of Sun Ra and Al Green, rather than Gambino’s contemporaries in the industry (i.e. Odd Future, Logic, Chance The Rapper).
Just a week earlier Glover released the debut single off of the December-expected Awaken, My Love, “Me and Your Mama” and, like the track in question, Redbone, both seem to be much more rock-operatic (enter question mark here). Perhaps Childish Gambino finds himself taking notes out of a certain Esperanza Spalding’s notebook, for the direction of the new album seems to draw more on a smorgasbord of unconventional endeavors in free-form jazz, neo-soul, and modern-day electronica. The newest track from the upcoming release challenges previous creative ventures by Gambino, while ultimately lending it and himself to a vision that tends towards the more theatrical and less just for the auditory.
Whatever the diagnosis, be it confusing or not, Gambino’s efforts are a fair and much-needed breath of fresh hair, nay air. Funkadelic beats ooze out of flowery, psychedelic taps onto the keyboard. A celestial, synth-driven bubblescape ricochets out of the darkness and into the current, cooling winter months to come. An almost uncanny resemblance to ricochet Collins and his slap bass motifs break through a clean, rhythm section, while an ultimate comparison to “I’d Rather Be With You” ensues.
But all is redeemed in the Collin’s protegé, for a new kind of funk and new kind of soul engenders Redbone and the imagined and imminent Awaken, My Love. While the origins of the track’s intent seem clear, the artists fresh take on funk offers those of a newer generation the opportunity to indulge in something a little bit more tangible. A little bit more groovy, baby.