When “Me and Your Mama” dropped last week, our thoughts upon first listen were: “Mannn, there are some serious ‘Maggot Brain’ vibes bopping all up and down this track.”
While Donald Glover — known musically as Childish Gambino — is typically a man of impassioned, wit-packed raps, Awaken, My Love! finds the multi-talent tapping into the psychedelic soul of the ’70s. For those familiar with the era, “Me and Your Mama” is undeniably P-Funk, while “Redbone” — which was premiered by Annie Mac on BBC Radio 1 yesterday — echoes the spirit of legends like Prince and Bootsy Collins.
Glover dates his influence back to childhood.
“I remember listening to songs my dad would play — albums by the Isleys or Funkadelic — and not understanding the feeling I was feeling,” he told Billboard. “I remember hearing a Funkadelic scream and being like, ‘Wow, that’s sexual and it’s scary.’ Not having a name for that, though; just having a feeling. That’s what made it great.”
He also notes a carefree approach in creating Awaken, referring to it as “an exercise in just feeling and tone.”
Taking the similarities between today’s social climate and that of the ’70s into consideration, Glover’s approach couldn’t be more timely.
“It felt like people were trying to get out of their minds, with all the things that were happening — and that are happening right now,” he continued. “How do you start a global revolution, really? Is that possible with the systems we’ve set up? There’s something about that ’70s black music that felt like they were trying to start a revolution.”
In case you missed it, you can listen to Awaken‘s latest single, “Redbone,” below.