On December 2nd of 2016, Donald Glover, also known as Childish Gambino, released his third studio album “Awaken, My Love!”. The album received pretty decent critical reception, but was disliked by some Childish Gambino fans because of its lack of Hip Hop/Rap. Glover dared to go where mainstream rappers today have never gone before. In this album, Glover experimented with psychedelic soul and R&B, and this gives it a different sound that isn’t seen very often today. Glover also displays his incredible vocal range throughout the album with tracks like “Zombies” and “Redbone”. Glover proves that he is more than a rapper which was hinted at in his track “III. Urn” from Because the Internet.
“Awaken, My Love!” has a one of a kind sound that comes from Gambino’s love for soul, R&B, funk, and psychedelic rock. He took inspiration from musical icons like Jimi Hendrix, the Isley Brothers, Funkadelic, and Earth, Wind, and Fire. The mixture of these influences gave the album its distinct funk and R&B sound. The album also features exceptional guitar and bass riffs from Ludwig Görransson. Görransson has collaborated with Gambino on all of his studio albums so far, and most likely will continue to do so as Donald Glover begins to experiment with his new sound more and more. This genius of this album is that it opened the door for Glover to start experimenting with new genres of music. He may face poor reception from long time fans because of this, but I think Glover will not fret on that very much. Glover is a student of music, and he will not be deterred by the fact that his album does not sound like the music on the Billboard charts. He wants to make a lasting name for himself as one of the greats, and his new sound will do that for him if he keeps pursuing it. Gambino occupies himself in other line of entertainment also. He has been a successful stand up comedian in the past, and now his acting career has taken off. Glover stars in and writes the hit TV show Atlanta. He is also in the process of playing Lando Calrissian in the upcoming Star Wars Han Solo anthology film that will be released in 2018.
I believe that “Awaken, My Love!” will have a long time effect on the music industry, and it will inspire other artist to follow in Gambino’s footsteps to try new genres of music. I hope it does so we will hear more new and interesting music like this. If you have not listened to this album yet, go pick up a copy! You won’t regret it. It may also lead you to seek out new genres of music to listen to.
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