×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Childish Gambino Drops Surreal New Video ‘This Is America’

UPDATED: In the middle of his appearance as host and musical guest on “Saturday Night Live,” Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino) dropped a video for a new song that veers between comedy, commentary and surrealism called “This Is America.” Filmed in a large warehouse, the deeply nuanced video — Complex has done a pretty thorough analysis — features a shirtless Glover dancing between scenes that alternate between humorous (his facial expressions) and disturbing (he pulls out an assault rifle and shoots both a hooded captive and, apparently, a gospel choir). In the video’s closing moments, SZA (or someone who looks an awful lot like her) makes an appearance, sitting on a car and looking briefly at the camera.

The song’s lyrics have a similar duality, shifting quickly from lighthearted (“I know you wanna party/ Party just for me/ Girl, you got me dancin’/ Dancin’ free”) to heavy (“This is America/ Police be trippin’ now/ Yeah, this is America/ Guns in my area”).

Shortly after the video dropped, he performed the song as his second musical spot on “SNL,” again shirtless but this time accompanied by an elaborate laser-ish lighting and several dancers wearing school uniforms; the song’s political implications were less obvious in that performance.

“This Is America” marks the first new music Gambino has dropped since the release of his Grammy-nominated album “Awaken, My Love!” late in 2016.

Glover recently left Glassnote Records for RCA and is expected to release a new album later this year. He will head out on tour in the fall with special guests Rae Sremmurd and Vince Staples; he is also performing at a new installment of his elaborate Pharos festival in New Zealand in November. Glover has said that the next Childish Gambino album he releases will be his last, explaining, “I think endings are good because they force things to get better.”

Glover fully embraced the opportunities of his double-bill “SNL” appearance, performing two songs as well as appearing in nearly every skit on the show, including one in which three members of a group styled on Migos are sitting in a therapy session.

POPULAR ON VARIETY:

More Music

  • Peter Bjorn and John -Björn Yttling

    As Peter Björn & John Celebrates 20 Years, the Band Returns to its 'Darker' Roots

    A trifecta of pure energy hit the stage at the Teragram Ballroom in Downtown Los Angeles Saturday night as Peter Björn & John performed the second-to-last stop of a 2018 tour. Promoting their new album “Darker Days,” which dropped October 19, the band went back to basics as a three-piece for this outing (drummer John [...]

  • Adam Levine Cardi B

    Maroon 5 and How the Super Bowl Halftime Show Became Music's Least Wanted Gig

    Who would have thought that the Super Bowl Halftime show, an American institution watched by more than 100 million people, would become the least wanted gig in music? But thanks to the ongoing controversy concerning the NFL’s stance on a player’s right to protest, brought to the forefront by football’s top conscientious objector Colin Kaepernick, [...]

  • Mary Poppins 1964

    P.L. Travers' Efforts to Adapt 'Mary Poppins' for Film, TV Were Often Less Than Jolly

    Disney’s “Mary Poppins Returns,” a sequel decades in the making, opens Dec. 19. Even before the 1964 original, Hollywood made several attempts to adapt P.L. Travers’ books, with Samuel Goldwyn and Katharine Hepburn among those involved in the chase. But aside from a one-hour 1949 CBS television version, they all hit a dead-end. The first [...]

  • Stevie Nicks Fleetwood Mac in concert

    Hall of Famer Stevie Nicks Thanks Jimmy Iovine for Talking Her Into Solo Career

    Stevie Nicks had a monumental Thursday, starting the day by being elected to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame as a solo artist and ending it onstage with Fleetwood Mac playing before a sold-out audience for the second of three nights at the Forum. During the show, Nicks addressed her big news that day, [...]

  • Kanye West

    Kanye West Accuses Drake of 'Threatening' His Family in Epic Twitter Binge

    Kanye West re-ignited his feud with Drake on Thursday night, accusing the rapper of “threatening” his family in a dozens-long Twitter binge on Thursday night. The latest installment of the saga between the former friends — which flared up most dramatically back in May when Pusha T revealed that Drake has a son with model [...]

  • Kacey Musgraves Cardi B Janelle Monae

    The Best Albums of 2018

    Even by recent standards, these are times that try human souls. And not surprisingly, that was reflected in the music of 2018: Whether metaphorically responding to the political realities of America (“Black Panther), mimicking the ADD nature of modern culture (Terra Whack) or simply providing a distraction, however brief, from too much reality (take your [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content