Childish Gambino – This is America
Donald Glover is a magnetic actor and the best way to experience this song is to watch the video, which elevates the concept to a powerful, unflinching work of political art. The internet is awash with thinkpieces but if you need this explained to you, it’s likely you’re not really trying to see the message anyway. On a scale of one to It Takes A Nation Of Millions to Hold Us Back, “This is America” is an 11.
This new triple album is being called Rae Sremmurd’s Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, and we can see that, because each brother ostensibly has his own disc, in addition to the group disc. SR3MM is the group record and has the most features and the biggest radio singles, EG Powerglide. Swaecation, naturally, features more R&B songs because Swae Lee is the singer and hook svengali, while Jxmtro showcases Slim Jxmmi’s raps (and Mike Will’s more adventurous rap beats). But despite the different styles on display between the solo records, the Outkast comparison feels more like a PR box than an honest impression. As a group, Rae Sremmurd still compliment one another perfectly, and they’re still all over each other’s records, whereas “The Love Below” especially felt like Andre 3000 evolving beyond Outkast as a rap group into a weird pop singer, no longer the quirky rap hitmaker of So Fresh, So Clean. But Rae Sremmurd are just a few years into their domination, still at the height of their powers, and show no sign of drifting apart. Honestly this week’s That New New could be us talking about Rae Sremmurd BUT there is so much great new music out right now, we’re going to keep it moving.
Speaking of variety! Even though the texture on this EP is very consistent – latin percussion, lush keyboards and Mark’s confident, charismatic vocals – the breadth of songs is such that each one stands out in its own way. “All The Work” especially resonates with us because it is dancey, but all four songs, including her cover of Sade’s “Love is Stronger Than Pride” are truly great.
“Genius” is the debut of a new supergroup comprised of Labrinth, Sia and Diplo, and it’s an epic, arch song. If anyone has the power to elevate Sia beyond Rihanna soundalike radio songs (to be fair she wrote “Diamonds”), it’s Diplo, and Labrinth is no newcomer, having scored a huge hit with Tinie Tempah all the way back in 2010.