“This is America” Childish Gambino

694
463
93
XBOX Gamertag
Vicious 614 E
Thread starter #1
Here’s the new music video by Childish Gambino. Called “This is America” and has over 51m views in 4 days. I’m gonna unpack this beast. Spoilers below. I’m still unpacking!


Lyrics:
Intro: Choir]
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, go, go away
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, go, go away
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, go, go away
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah, go, go away
In the song it just sounds like an afterthought, you’re not really focused on this yet. I think it’s playcates black people. Simple lyrics, but saying “yeah yeah yeah, like “blah blah blah” making it sounds like they’re listening, but really they want you to go away, or are tired of you.
[Bridge: Childish Gambino & Young Thug]
We just wanna party
Party just for you
We just want the money
Money just for you
I know you wanna party
Party just for me
Girl, you got me dancin' (yeah, girl, you got me dancin')
Dance and shake the frame
We just wanna party (yeah)
Party just for you (yeah)
We just want the money (yeah)
Money just for you (you)
I know you wanna party (yeah)
Party just for me (yeah)
Girl, you got me dancin' (yeah, girl, you got me dancin')
Dance and shake the frame (you)
Two things. I think he’s mocking current rap, repeating the same things they repeat, and show how lazy their styles are. Second, he’s talking about putting on an act for white people. “We just wanna party, party just for you. We just want the money, money just for you” We’re just entertainers to them. And when we make money, it all goes right back to the majority.
[Chorus: Childish Gambino]
This is America
Don't catch you slippin' up
Don't catch you slippin' up
Look what I'm whippin' up
This is America (woo)
Don't catch you slippin' up
Don't catch you slippin' up
Look what I'm whippin' up
Pretty easy here, be on point at all times. Don’t let them see you act out. “Look what I’m whipping up” could be talking directly about his video, sayin “pay attention”
[Verse 1: Childish Gambino, Blocboy JB, Slim Jxmmi, Young Thug, & 21 Savage]
This is America (skrrt, skrrt, woo)
Don't catch you slippin' up (ayy)
Look at how I'm livin' now
Police be trippin' now (woo)
Yeah, this is America (woo, ayy)
Guns in my area (word, my area)
I got the strap (ayy, ayy)
I gotta carry 'em
Yeah, yeah, I'ma go into this (ugh)
Yeah, yeah, this is guerilla (woo)
Yeah, yeah, I'ma go get the bag
Yeah, yeah, or I'ma get the pad
Yeah, yeah, I'm so cold like yeah (yeah)
I'm so dope like yeah (woo)
We gon' blow like yeah (straight up, uh)
A section of multiple adlibs, bringing in current “rappers’” signature sounds. Again using common themes and words that we see in almost every mainstream rap song now.

[Refrain: Choir & Childish Gambino]
Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, tell somebody
You go tell somebody
Grandma told me
Get your money, Black man (get your money)
Get your money, Black man (get your money)
Get your money, Black man (get your, Black man)
Get your money, Black man (get your, Black man)
Black man
This to me is saying who cares what you do, as long as you’re getting paid. It doesn’t matter if you have no message or are poinsoning youth, just do it because cash is all that matters.

[Chorus: Childish Gambino, Slim Jxmmi, & Young Thug]
This is America (woo, ayy)
Don't catch you slippin' up (woo, woo, don't catch you slippin', now)
Don't catch you slippin' up (ayy, woah)
Look what I'm whippin' up (Slime!)
This is America (yeah, yeah)
Don't catch you slippin' up (woah, ayy)
Don't catch you slippin' up (ayy, woo)
Look what I'm whippin' up (ayy)

[Verse 2: Childish Gambino, Quavo, Young Thug, & 21 Savage]
Look how I'm geekin' out (hey)
I'm so fitted (I'm so fitted, woo)
I'm on Gucci (I'm on Gucci)
I'm so pretty (yeah, yeah)
I'm gon' get it (ayy, I'm gon' get it)
Watch me move (blaow)
This a celly (ha)
That's a tool (yeah)
On my Kodak (woo, Black)
Ooh, know that (yeah, know that, hold on)
Get it (get it, get it)
Ooh, work it (21)
Hunnid bands, hunnid bands, hunnid bands (hunnid bands)
Contraband, contraband, contraband (contraband)
I got the plug in Oaxaca (woah)
They gonna find you like blocka (blaow)
Same thing, after verse 1 talks about guns, this one talks about possessions, money/drugs. Again, mocking main stream rap. He mentions “This a celly, that’s a tool” Stephon Clark was gunned down by police because he had a cell phone on him.


[Refrain: Choir, Childish Gambino, & Young Thug]
Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, tell somebody
America, I just checked my following list and
You go tell somebody
You mothafuckas owe me
Grandma told me
Get your money, Black man (black man)
Get your money, Black man (black man)
Get your money, Black man (get your, Black man)
Get your money, Black man (get your, Black man)
Black man
(One, two, three, get down)
Ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh, tell somebody
You go tell somebody
Grandma told me, "Get your money"
Get your money, Black man (Black man)
Get your money, Black man (Black man)
Get your money, Black man (Black man)
Get your money, Black man (Black man)
Black man
Perceived success, he has a lot of followers, he thinks he’s done, he’s out of the bullshit. His ancestors told him he could make it, but they’re still holding him/us back.
[Outro: Young Thug]
You just a Black man in this world
You just a barcode, ayy
You just a Black man in this world
Drivin' expensive foreigns, ayy
You just a big dawg, yeah
I kenneled him in the backyard
No probably ain't life to a dog
For a big dog

Very simple message here, very explicit.

From the very beginning there’s thought,
The opening has the song title “this is America” but, the font is in a cursive or hand written looking font. I think this isn’t just a song title, but an invitation to have a look into the reality that we live in.

All of the dancing in the video is a distraction, one that holds your eyes away from all of the chaos and carnage. And all of the kids are doing what he does, telling the audience and other artists “kids do what we do”

Opening scene a black musician is playing his instrument. Zooms in on CG and he starts dancing. When he starts dancing he does a wide open eye wink, from a popular black cartoon called “Boondockcs” and the character is Uncle Ruckus. Uncle Ruckus in the show is a black man who hates black people. An “Uncle Tom” if you will.
6D0001B2-C9E2-433A-A7C9-1BDF889E9799.jpeg


Now the musician has a sack over his head like a captive. Which could be a hint toward music labels and companies holding their artists hostage. Then he shoots the guy in the head after striking a Jim Crowe propaganda pose, as well as a pose from a popular black artwork.
7748451A-BF46-4EC0-92BD-CC2800AC7146.jpeg

463C99AC-60C3-4D8E-9A73-E2D8B6A6A35E.jpeg

And once he shoots current music style plays and old music is dead. Also this might be a hit again at the ones running the industry, who’d rather kill certain types of music to play the garbage.

Hands the gun too a guy who’s dressed well, and holds it in a red high taste cloth. While the black body is dragged away like a piece of meat by two “who cares” guys

About 1:37 there’s a kid on top of a car making it rain with a money blowing machine, with a pair of chickens in front of his car. Obviously the kids are literally and figuratively “blowing money” because that’s what the culture teaches them to do.

1:43 is the church scene. Symbolizing Dylan Roof’s massacre on the black church. Again, killed and left alone while the gun is collected with red silk.

Then cops and riots follow that scenes quickly.

2:12 he strikes a flex pose from the popular picture with Richard Pryor and the American flag.
9BDC828D-0E20-4A42-BA2E-DFFFC67AE4AB.jpeg


2:15 guy jumps from second level to death, no one stops, no one checks on him, life just keeps going on and hey just keep dancing.

Right after that, back left corner is a cop car getting jumped on by a person.

2:30 a take on society that instead of helping or being safe, we’d rafher use our phones and record chaos and terror. Also it shows that our kids can see and remember everything.

2:38 white horse with “death” riding on it. Possible biblical reference that deals with the end of times or apocalypse.

At 2:45 he holds than gun pose for a long time. Has to be meaning behind it, I think it’s an homage to perceived danger from an unarmed black man.

Then puts the imaginary gun away, and pulls out a joint. So in one scene he hits on unarmed black men, drug abuse, and gun usage

then jumps up on the car and throws away the joint, and starts dancing. Similar to a bit Michael Jackson had back in his day, when he threw away a cigarette and started dancing on a car.
A609E9A6-23A3-4D60-8FB8-2628389CDE7E.jpeg


Also At MJ’s court appearance he danced on a car
B3EE357E-C39C-488B-8267-05D55D651801.jpeg


Notice the as of the cars, some people think it’s just a message about how current rappers use fancy expensive cars in their videos, while everyone else is driving old stuff. I don’t think that’s quite it, because the age of the car is very specific. I think it’s about the 80s and 90s police brutality, riots, never ending, and still going on today. I also think that it’s where CG determines the “start of it all” came. Where gangster and drug rap started the path for our culture and music today. Also shows that this isn’t just an issue today, but a legacy issue over decades.

Then at the very end there’s him running for darkness in a tunnel, with possibly only white people which could be two things. He’s running from the “sunken place” or they’re hunting him because of everything he just exposed. Or because he’s a black man running for his life, just like slaves did.

All throughout the song he used Adlibs from popular mumble rap artists, almost mocking them, and they don’t know it. Hes using the video to convey a message, instead of words. Similar to how rap today, words don’t matter, it’s just about flashing your possessions.

I think Gambino had to use trap music to get his point across. He knew no one would listen to him explicitly telling them this story, but to show the story and hide it behind a catchy beat and simple lyrics. Smart move to gain traction from those who “just like the beat” and the perfect bait to get people to watch away from the distractions.

Is there anything you’ve noticed? Any conclusions?
 

Attachments

Last edited:

crillah

Junior Varsity
97
28
38
PSN ID
crillah_ra
XBOX Gamertag
crillah
#3
its Boondocks not Boondockcs; show some respect.

lol nah but that was well done, alot of the points you brought up also came to mind for me
 

d11king

Daddy Donte
1,527
1,976
213
XBOX Gamertag
d11king
#4
E, this is too black for the site.. notice the response lol. I would touch this but in a message.
 
694
463
93
XBOX Gamertag
Vicious 614 E
Thread starter #5
If I was a Hotep I’d understand, otherwise, no such thing as too black lmao.

“Y’all come git yur lessins”
 

VGP

Founder of the San Diego Chargers fan club
670
530
133
#7
I liked the video when it came out and think Donald is one of the most talented dudes in Hollywood
 
Top