Interesting and insightful
If you’re a fan of comedy TV or familiar with impactful music or the entertainment industry in general, there’s a chance you’ve heard of American actor, Donald Glover, or as he’s known musically, Childish Gambino. After graduating from NYU, Glover was hired to work as a writer for the comedy sitcom 30 Rock. Later on, he starred as a main character on the sitcom Community which helped launch his career into starring in and even producing and directing other shows and movies, including the FX series Atlanta and famous films like The Martian and Spider-Man: Homecoming.
Music-wise, Gambino released many tapes independently until 2011 when he was signed with Glassnote Records. His first official album release was in 2015, however, he hit mainstream success in 2016-17 when the song “Redbone,” off his third album Awaken, My Love! went viral and reached the number 12 spot on the Billboard Hot 100. Gambino won his first Grammy for Best Traditional R&B Performance with “Redbone” and went on to win four more with his 2018 #1 Billboard song, “This Is America.” This year, Gambino continues his musical journey with his fourth and rumored last studio album, 3.15.20.
3.15.20 begins on an interesting note with track “0.00” which sounds like it was truly made for the intention of introducing the album. It’s a three-minute track with a simple yet suspenseful movie-like electronic beat with the words “We Are” looped throughout it.
“Algorhythm” is the following track on the project and puts quite the twist on traditional Hip-Hop sounds with rap verses that have a robotic electronic element and a chorus that leans more R&B, particularly in the vocals. We also get a taste of Gambino’s signature lyricism with lines like, “humans don’t understand, humans gon’ sell a lie/ humans gotta survive, we know we gon’ die/ nothing can live forever, you know we gon’ try/ life: is it really worth it? the Algorhythm is perfect.”
One of the features on the album is Ariana Grande on the track, “Time,” which also begins on that eclectic electronic sound themed throughout the album but eventually meshes with a soft pop acoustic beat more commonly found in Grande’s music. Grande, as well as Gambino have that distantly distorted vocal sound throughout the song which is traditionally a Gambino trait. The song titled “12.38” is the other feature on the album, which includes fellow rappers 21 Savage and Ink and American musician Kadhja Bonet.
While maintaining that new electronica essence, “19.20” also pulls us back to some of Gambino’s earlier sounds with vocals and a melody that are much more reminiscent of his unique old-school R&B vibes. The track “24.19” even has a very “Redbone” like quality in its cadence and vocal stylings.
The song most likely to reach popularity with the masses is “35.31” with it’s funky, catchy beat and fun, light lyrics like, “little foot, bigfoot, get out the way/ I’ma show y’all how to move this yay/ I’ma show y’all how to move like this/ I’ma show ya’ll that a move ain’t, woo.” Its softer sound and less affected vocals make it the most appealing to a wider audience. Though, a close second would be track “42.26,” also known as “Feels Like Summer” with its groovy, beachy vibes and lo-fi beat.
3.15.20 officially released March 2020, however, many fans and dedicated music hunters have heard samples and snippets of a majority of the tracks over the last few years. Some of the songs were performed live at Gambino’s last tour and a couple of the demos, including “Algorhythm,” were given to people who purchased tickets. Finally, a few of the songs appeared in Gambino’s film, Guava Island, which made people aware of the possible album coming. While Gambino’s sound, especially on this project, is a bit more out of the box, fans of his, as well Hip-Hop and eclectic pop enthusiasts alike will find plenty of material to love and listen to endlessly.