Comparing Childish Gambino: Then, to Now.

Pictured is Donald Glover, commonly knows as Childish Gambino. Glover has one of the best discographies in music and is always changing his style album to album.

The Jakarta Post

Aiden Vittoe, Reporter

   Throughout his career, Donald Glover has made his identity in music “Childish Gambino” evolve through each piece of work released. What started off as weird rapping involving his colorful, funny, and immature personality, had turned into something more soulful, serious, and still as good, maybe even better. Donald Glover has made Childish Gambino out to what he wanted it to be, what he enjoyed, instead of doing what everyone else liked, and that is what has made his music so enjoyable, and so different.

   Camp/ Because of the internet

   Childish Gambino’s albums “Camp” and “Because of the internet” were his first two to be released. Starting off with “Camp”, it was released in 2011, and is his most raw album. Being his first major release, it shows his beginning rapping skills, and also shows off his vibrant personality, with his vulgar but hilarious raps. Songs like “Bonfire” and “Fire Fly” show off these aspects extremely well, but also have messages behind them, like being a very talented rapper who is different from most, or how Glover wasn’t very popular in high school, and was made fun of, and once he made it big, everyone from back then wanted to be his friend. Camp is a great album, and shows off how different Gambino is very well, but it is certainly not the best.

    “Because of the Internet” is a very different story. Released in 2013, Glover had evolved Childish Gambino a lot since “Camp”.  The album is very different from his last album and is way more iconic. Songs like “Sweatpants” and “3005” are still listened to today, and people still know all the lyrics. This album is also very confusing due to Glover’s idea around it. There is a story within the album that was supposed to go along with a very confusing screenplay he was producing. It doesn’t make much sense, and never really progressed into anything big, but the music is still great, with Childish Gambino’s raps in full function, still showing off his personality, but also a bit of a dark side, with songs like “III. Life: The Biggest Troll” and “II. No Exit”. Though the meaning is confusing, it’s still a fantastic listen, and is a great representation of what Childish Gambino is.

   “Awaken, My love!”/ “3.15.20”

   This is where Childish Gambino really evolves. These two albums are completely different from his first two and might possibly be even better. “Awaken, my Love!” released in 2016, Is Childish Gambino’s best album. It is almost perfect, even though it is much different from what’s been produced before. Full of soulful jazz, funk, singing, and more, Glover dives deep into dark material, and brings it to light in an amazing way. The most noticeable song from the album is “Redbone ” which has become the song he is most known for. “Awaken my Love!” has a sound that is very hard to explain and is almost better to listen to on one’s own. Though there is no rapping, and not much of the crazy personality we once heard, Glover brings out a new one that is almost better. His voice is incredible on this album, where he sings in most of the songs, making his pitches reach places that no one had heard before. The album is a must listen for anyone attempting to get into Childish Gambino and is an album that you would’ve never expected to come after “Camp” and “Because of the Internet”.

   Carrying the theme from “Awaken, my love!”, his most recent album “3.15.20”, which came out on March 15th, 2020, hence the name, sounds even more different than before, but the singing and everything is still there. This is Childish Gambino’s most experimental album, with some of the weirdest songs and features. The sound is much different from anything heard before, with some songs not really having many words to say. The song’s meanings range from how everyone is involved in some sort of dark Algorithm, to a confusing night with a girl he is extremely fond of, where she gives him strange drugs.  The album switches from sounding very happy and bright, to sounding extremely dark and confusing. The album is also strange because none of the songs have names, just time stamps on where they appear the duration of the whole thing. They follow no specific order in tone either, for example the song “32.22” is very aggressive and sounds as if Glover is using his voice to mutter words but in a very harsh away, along with the crazy music to go along behind it, and then after it’s over, it switches to the song “35.31” which has a sweet sounding guitar melody, and is the probably the nicest sounding song in the album, with Glover singing along in uniquely happy voice. Overall, this album is a bundle of emotions, and really goes to show how much Childish Gambino has evolved. 

   With that being said, it’s clear to see that Glover has really changed his musical persona over the years, and it’s easy to say that he’s changed it for the better as well. Childish Gambino’s evolution isn’t just Glover changing it because he wants to, but it shows how he’s matured since his first release, and how his music did with him. Each album has shown a different side to Glover, and has its own unique listen, with the different sounds and words. This is what makes Childish Gambino so good, and one of the most interesting artists of today’s generation.