Childish Gambino is back in the limelight with latest single This Is America, a track that skillfully audibly portrays the uncomfortable cultural juxtapositions of pop-culture in America and the lives of people of color.
Alternating between a happy-go-lucky folk chant and a brooding trap mood, Glover alternates between a cheeky vocal and a sharp, insightful rap. Detailing how much of a powder keg America is politically right now, the tension is felt from start to finish.
And it’s essentially what the entire track is built on, and also visually depicted in the music video. Falsely led into a state of comfort (and arguably, apathy) as with the opening guitar at the verse that is all so painfully ceased with a gunshot, of which in the music video is Glover shooting the guitarist point blank in the head.
Reality shattered, and now lying in a pool of disbelief the song undergoes this cultural process of realization numerous times throughout the single’s run. Glover draws upon a space of audible comfort and then proceeds to gun it down with trap verse of a sarcastic, political cynicism. Making a statement on the surface pleasantries of pop-culture and exposing, almost shattering the perception and revealing an underbelly of issues underneath.
Perhaps This Is America is acting as a musical thermostat to where society is politically speaking. Glover has detailed that we have become too comfortable and uncaring, pulling the rug to sarcastically reveal the grotesque, uncomfortable reality that lies underneath.