by Carla Bynum
“Me and Your Mama” was released as the first single via Beats 1 Radio and iTunes on November 10th. Glover starts the song by admitting that he loves when him and his lady smoke together. It is a well-known fact that Gambino is an avid weed smoker so it doesn’t come as a surprise that he likes to smoke with his lover. He wants his lady to let him into her heart because she has a strong hold on him.
Glover uses the idea of the fictional character the Bogeyman and the popular term and dance used in the African American community. He proclaims himself the “Boogieman” whose blackness is something to be feared according to some. He also asks how can blacks be free if our skin color automatically makes us criminals or a threat.
On the track “Zombies,” Glover and Kari Faux sing about vultures that are all around and want to eat off their success
On the track “Riot,” Gambino sings about everybody’s desire to have a better life but things in the world aren’t the best so they have to fight for what they want.
“Redbone” is one of the album’s singles and premiered on BBC Radio 1 as Annie Mac’s Hottest Record. The song is seemingly about infidelity as Glover encourages people to “stay woke” and aware of what’s going on in their relationships because people like to play games.
“California” tells the story of a girl who wants to move to California to pursue aspirations of acting or being in a movie. Glover references social media platforms such as Snapchat and Vine, which had helped people gain quick fame over the years. While this girl wants to move to Cali to pursue her dreams, Glover thinks she’s crazy because there’s nothing there for her.
Gambino sings about how he is “Terrified” that there’s a downfall to every high he feels.
Earlier this year, Glover and his girlfriend welcomed their first child into the world. The song “Baby Boy” is dedicated to his son and the way he felt when he first met him. The song also explores issues that have arisen in his relationship with his child’s mother. He begs her not to let his mistakes cause her to take his son away. The song ends with encouraging worlds from Gambino telling his son to stand tall, which is a message passed on to him by his parents.
“The Night Me and Your Mama Met” is a beautiful instrumental that represents the night Glover met the mother of his son.
Glover remembers advice his parents gave him as a child. It is the same advice that he passed on to his son at the end of the song “Baby Boy.” His parents always encouraged him to “Stand Tall” and to chase his dreams. They want him to also remain positive in times of uncertainty.
This album strays from his typical hip hop sound and showcases Childish Gambino’s singing abilities. The song was produced entirely by Gambino and Swedish composer Ludwig Göransson. The album features a more soulful and funky sound than his previous albums and it truly works for him. I like Childish Gambino as an actor and rapper but I now have a newfound love for him as a singer. Awaken, My Love! is by far my favorite Gambino album. I highly recommend the entire album but a few of my favorite tracks are below.
Recommended Tracks: “Baby Boy,” “Have Some Love,” “California,” “Stand Tall”