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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 →

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

Donald Glover | photo via facebook.com/donaldglover

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 →

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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 →

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

Childish Gambino | via facebook.com/donaldglover

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 →

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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 →

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

Little Simz | via facebook.com/littlesimz

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 →

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

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Childish Gambino | Photo by Rachel Barrish | rachelbarrish.com

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.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Childish Gambino and Chill Moody at Great Plaza, Sebadoh at Union Transfer, The Internet at the Barbary, and Carbon Leaf at Musikfest

Childish Gambino, the stage name of multi-talented rapper/actor/writer/comedian Donald Glover, will be making a stop in Philly on his Camp Tour tonight. The show, which takes place at 7:30PM at Great Plaza at Penn’s Landing, features a performance by Philly hip-hop artist Chill Moody. Tickets are available for $47.35 here. Watch Childish Gambino’s VMA-nominated music video “Bonfire” in the player below.

Sebadoh, one of the early pioneers of lo-fi indie rock who formed back in 1986, are coming to Union Transfer tonight. After going on hiatus, the band reunited in 2007 and have since been touring and released Secret EP on their Bandcamp page. The EP is available for digital download and physical copies are only available at shows on current tour. Opening up the show will be Sebadoh/Dinosaur Jr.‘s Lou Barlow performing a solo set and two-piece bass and drums duo from members of Sebadoh and the Fiery Furnaces, Circle of Buzzards. Doors open at 8PM and the show starts at 9PM. Tickets are available here for $16. Listen to Sebadoh’s Secret EP in the player below and, if you like what you hear, make sure to snatch up a limited edition physical copy at the show tonight.

The Internet is an electro hip-hop duo consisting of DJ/singer/producer Syd tha Kyd and producer Matt Martians of OFWGKTA. The show tonight with Kilo Kish was originally scheduled to take place at Johnny Brenda’s, but was recently relocated to The Barbary. The show is now all ages and tickets purchased through Johnny Brenda’s will be honored. Doors open at 7PM and the show starts at 7:30PM. Tickets can be purchased for $13 here.

Finally, indie rock band Carbon Leaf is playing a free show at Musikfest’s The Morning Call Plaza Tropical at Main and Spring Streets in Bethlehem, PA tonight at 6:30PM. For more info on the show, visit the Musikfest event page here. Watch the band’s music video for “Life Less Ordinary” in the player below.