Childish Gambino Skips Out On Rap in New Album, “Awaken, My Love!”

By: Roberto De La Rosa-Finch – Assistant Online Editor

With his first body of music since STN MTN/Kauai and first album in three years, Childish Gambino sends listeners on a soulful expedition with new LP “Awaken, My Love!” The artist, who traditionally sticks to rap with an occasional R&B, first began showing signs of his vocal abilities on his last EP: “Kauai.”

He emerged out of the dark in 2015 to perform a cover of Tamia’s “So Into You” once again displaying his pipes and range. Subsequently, he ceased releasing any new music, leaving his fans in the dark about what his new album would be like.

Nevertheless, “Awaken” is an extravagant fusion of futuristic vocals and synths mixed with funk inspired production. The intro, “Me and Your Mama”, begins with a beautiful fender rhodes tune complimented with a choir that soon enters a distorted bass and electric guitar infused melody.

This type of experimental instrumentation continued throughout the album along with voice alterations on “Redbone” and “Baby Boy.” A reggae influenced “California”, a Pink Floyd like harsh and multiple combination of sound on “Stand Tall”’, and even an instrumental “The Night Me and Your Mama Met”—this album demonstrated Gambino’s method to this project: “an exercise in just feeling and tone.”

“Awaken” produces visions and sensation, which is rarely exuded from a rap artist. The majority of Gambino’s music, like most well written rap music, makes you think. This album took me on an emotional and funky journey with aubades and ballads. And although it was not rap, which is what most of his fans were hoping for, it was a strong piece of music.

Rate: 4 out of 5 Stars

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Flyer News: Univ. of Dayton's Student Newspaper