Donald Glover knows our ‘America’ loves Black Art and hates Black Lives. Can he make America learn something else?

Childish Gambino’s This Is America | still from video

The most jarring moment of the music video for Childish Gambino’s “This is America”—the visceral clip for the unsettlingly heavy gospel-meets-trap song that garnered over 105 million views on YouTube as of this writing—arrives at the 1:39 mark. The preceding 98 seconds of irreverent dancing, sudden homicide and Jim Crow allegory abruptly pivot to ten members of a Black church choir joyfully singing “Get your money, Black man!” before Gambino picks up an assault rifle and quickly shoots all of its members to death. “This is America,” he raps into the camera, the blandness of his expression caustically juxtaposed with the weapon of war he then passes to a cloth-bearing child. Continue reading →


Before he says goodbye to Childish Gambino, Donald Glover will bring Awaken My Love to the Wells Fargo Center

Donald Glover | photo via

2018 is going to be a major year for Donald Glover. With the recent premiere of Atlanta, Glover signed a new record deal with RCA Records and announced a North American Tour for his music-alter ego Childish Gambino with the hip-hop duo Rae Sremmurd, best known for their hit “Black Beatles.” The fall itinerary is set to kick off in Glover’s hometown Atlanta, September 6th, and hitting other 12 cities including Philadelphia, September 18th at the Wells Fargo Center.

Last year during his performance at the Governors Ball in NYC, the multi talented Glover announced that his 2016 LP Awaken, My Love!  would mark the retirement of his moniker. At the 2018 Grammys in January, he confirmed with reporters that he will stand by his decision to bring the curtains down on Childish Gambino after 10 years. The ever-growing artist has made a name for himself in every area of the entertainment industry as a rapper, writer, actor, comedian, and director. The Grammy-winning R&B artist started off writing for the American sitcom “30 Rock” then released a comedy special on Netflix called “Donald Glover: Weirdo”. Afterwards, the R&B artist started acting, starring in TV series and films such as Community in 2009 and Magic Mike XXL in 2015. Now, he is directing his own television series, the acclaimed Atlanta, which is on FXX.   Continue reading →


The Key’s Year-End Mania: Mariah Hall’s Top 7 TV Soundtracks of 2018

The cast of GLOW season 2 | via YouTube

Year-End Mania is the Key’s annual survey of the things below the surface that made 2018 incredible. Today, Key contributor Mariah Hall recaps seven of her favorite television soundtracks from 2018.

I don’t watch movies anymore. I can’t remember the last time I went to a movie theater, and there’s something about a two hour running time that makes me want to scroll past— maybe it’s an underlying fear of commitment, or the fact that my iPhone has destroyed my attention span. TV shows are so much easier to invest in, and Netflix has made them abundantly accessible. Click on a promising pilot and six hours later you’ve finished an entire season and all of the munchies in your kitchen cabinet. The only way to escape that nagging hole in your chest is to start the next show, and one session of binge watching has turned into a full-blown addiction. Welcome to the Golden Age of Television. Here is my roundup of best binge-worthy shows with killer soundtracks of 2018. Continue reading →


Childish Gambino takes Philly to church

Childish Gambino | photo by Greg Noire | courtesy of the artist

If you were at the Childish Gambino concert this past Tuesday, then you might agree that it felt like a Wednesday night church service. Not in the sense that they were worshiping the rapper persona of actor Donald Glover (though there was probably some of that), but more in the energy he brought to the stage. His Philly fans packing the Wells Fargo Center came alive the way folks  might react after hearing a choir and their band go off for hours, and Deacon Gambino lifted their spirits to the stratosphere.

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Did you know Childish Gambino’s “Feels Like Summer” video is the product of Philly animator Justin Richburg?

Childish Gambino’s “Feels Like Summer” video | still from video

Justin Richburg is the 29-year-old, Philadelphia-based animator behind the video of Childish Gambino’s “Feels Like Summer.” Richburg is credited for the character designs, and collaborated with co-director Ivan Dixon for the animation work. Directed by Donald Glover, the video is coated in the balmy haze of summertime and depicts Childish Gambino strolling down a suburban neighborhood street beneath rosy-tinted skies. There are cameo appearances of hip hop artists and icons such as Drake and Future, Nicki Minaj and Travis Scott, Solange and The Weekend, but the most talked-about scene was that of a crying Kanye West in a Make America Great hat being hugged by Michelle Obama.

Despite his rising fame, Richburg remains draped in privacy and anonymity. In interviews he appears nonchalant and shruggingly perfunctory in responses to questions, never diving too deeply to reveal his own motives. Perhaps the statement on his website captures his attitude best: “What can I say about my art is that it’s inspired by life, the media, New Jack Swing and to kill the game point blank.” Continue reading →


Childish Gambino is embracing those summertime vibes with two new singles “Summertime Magic” and “Feels Like Summer”

Childish Gambino | via

So this week, out of nowhere, Childish Gambino (aka Donald Glover) decided to drop two new songs, “Summertime Magic” and “Feels Like Summer,” under the title Summer Pack. Listening to the summer-time themed tracks makes you just want to kick back and soak in that vitamin D. The upbeat, mellow rhythm is refreshing and when paired with Glover’s soulful voice…just hold me back. Continue reading →


The Key Studio Sessions: Dominic Angelella

There was a time that, whenever I’d write about Philly singer-guitarist-multi-instrumentalist Dominic Angelella, I’d begin by launching into a litany of local and national acts he’s been involved with over the past ten or twelve years. I’m not going to do that here — at this point, there are too many of them. And beyond being an exceptionally busy person in the supporting cast of other local and national bands, Angelella is a tremendous songwriter in his own right, and this spring he blessed us with a whole new batch of tunes. Continue reading →


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Little Simz at Union Transfer and KT Tunstall at Sellersville Theater

Little Simz | via

Britain’s Little Simz brings her area rap to the states as she takes over Union Transfer for the night. She’s sort of London’s Donald Glover, as her insane flow and hype beats are only a part of the talent of the television actor and artist. The gig is all ages, and more information/tickets can be found through the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →


Born entertainer Childish Gambino gives a steller performance at the Electric Factory

Childish Gambino | Photo by Rachel Barrish |

Donald Glover is a man of many traits; an actor, a comedian, a writer, but this night he was his musical moniker, Childish Gambino. The Electric Factory was packed with eager fans anticipating what was sure to be an epic performance. The background was lit with a twitter feed where fans could type in anything and it would pop up on screen which ensued hilarity and a lot of sexual innuendos.

With no opening act, only a DJ that played 90’s hip hop singles like “Hot in Herre” and “MotownPhilly”, the crowd was getting antsy. Especially when there was a dropped phone call over the loud speakers that beeped for a few minutes before Gambino finally entered the stage.

Ok, so I haven’t really been to many hip hop shows, with the exception of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis at the Roots Picnic last year. So in my head all I picture is the main rapper and DJ in the background. That was not the case here, the stage was packed with instrumentalists from a keyboardist, two guitarists, a DJ, a drummer, and probably a few others. Not to mention his posse of folks just chillin’ in the back on couches. The backgrounds were stellar, they included a house with windows , crazy blue and white surging lightning bolts, and an outdoor bonfire.

Gambino gave a strong performance and commanded the audience with rap ballads and power chords featuring thoughtful lyrics about racism, politics, family, and love.

He belted out tunes from his latest LP, Because the Internet as well as a few numbers from his previous, Camp and ended the night with a special freestyle with fellow artist, Steve G Lover.

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Childish Gambino to bring Deep Web tour to Electric Factory 3/28

Photo courtesy of the artist
Photo courtesy of the artist

Multi-talented rapper Childish Gambino (aka Donald Glover, star of NBC’s Community) is headed out on a North American tour in support of his latest release Because the Internet. Creatively enough, the new LP is actually a soundtrack to the same-titled screenplay Gambino wrote about Rick Ross’s fictional son and his struggles in the shadow of fame. The tale comes to life for local fans on March 28th at the Electric Factory. Get tickets here and watch his latest video for the infectious “3005” below.