Childish Gambino (real name Donald Glover) is an actor, dancer, musician, singer, comedian, producer and songwriter from California. One of his most popular tracks “Redbone” is from his 2016 album, “Awaken, My Love!”, and has broken multiple chart records since its release. Gambino is known for addressing serious issues in his songs such as infidelity, racism and politics (referencing his “This is America” track that was released previously this year that took the world by storm, calling out the United States on not only their racial issues, but with their gun laws). He has received multiple award nominations and is critically acclaimed for bringing more awareness around controversial topics such as race and the current state of US politics.
“Redbone” was originally released to the world by BBC Radio 1 DJ Annie Mac in her segment “Hottest Record”, where the track’s popularity rocketed from there. “Redbone” is a track about where Childish Gambino openly addresses his superstitions and paranoia about a lover and her loyalty, but still believes that they can be together and make it. It’s also important to note that the term “redbone” is slang for a dark-skinned woman with red undertones. The popular phrase “stay woke” features in the song, deriving from “stay awake”, a phrase used to encourage political and social awareness. Ludwig Göransson, one of the producers of the song, explained in a Genius video that the track came about by Gambino playing on drums, and then went from there. Göransson also explained that it was heavily inspired by Funkadelic, which was George Clinton’s 1970’s psychedelic funk band.
The track was met with a lot of superstition in regard to Gambino’s vocal range, as the song is all sung in an extremely high tone that many listeners believed to be a case of auto-tune or the vocals being “pitched up”. But in true Childish Gambino style, he proved these theories wrong by stating that he simply “just sang different” in an interview with Australian radio show Triple J. Gambino showcased his incredible vocal abilities by performing the track live on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” in January of 2017.
Despite the song’s incredible reception, an official music video has never been released (Gambino has also never explained why) but has amassed over 260 million views since it was posted on his official YouTube channel back in 2016, with 2 million likes.
“Redbone” is certified 2x Platinum in Australia, 3x Platinum in Canada, 4x Platinum in the US, Platinum in New Zealand, and Gold in the UK, France and Denmark.
Read the lyrics to “Redbone” here.
*All information accurate at the time of publishing.