Childish Gambino’s This Is America was originally intended to be a Drake diss track
Childish Gambino originally wrote ‘This Is America’ as a “Drake diss”.
The 39-year-old actor-and-rapper – whose birth name is Donald Glover – has revealed his 2018 hit, which was about the Black Lives Matter movement and features a host of rappers including Young Thug, Slim Jxmmi of Rae Sremmurd, BlocBoy JB, Quavo of Migos, and 21 Savage, was intended to poke fun at the ‘God’s Plan’ hitmaker.
He told GQ magazine: “[It] was a funny way of like doing [a Drake diss], but then I was like, ‘This s*** sounds kind of hard, though.’ So I was like, ‘Let me play with it.’ So we just had that for a long time, I told Hiro [Murai, his regular collaborator] the idea, and he was like, ‘Oh, let’s do it.’”
The song was released at the same time Glover hosted ‘Saturday Night Live’.
He used his time on the late-night sketch show to highlight the lack of diversity in the ‘Star Wars’ franchise.
Reprising his role of Lando Calrissian, he said: “I’ll say it — turn out was a little low.
“I held out hope that there was a black human planet somewhere but I guess it’s just us. Lots of lizard-men wearing vests. Just four black people, though.”
He recalled: “I was like, ‘How do you make people care about anything anymore? There’s just so much s***.’ Well, you have to have a moment in real time – which was [‘Saturday Night Live’].
“Fam and Chad, Wolf and Rothstein were like, ‘OK, we’re going to do this ‘SNL’ thing, we’ll drop it at midnight…’ Also the feeling of what was happening at the time – because [of] all the uprisings and riots that were happening – [that] really informed my writing and stuff. I was having sessions with [Young Thug] and all these people, and I was like, ‘Hey, would you want to get on [this song]?’ I was making it like ‘We Are The World’ for trap. It just became something where I was like, ‘Yo, it needs to feel like all of it.’”
In the same interview, Glover admitted he doesn’t believe his career would have been the same if he had succeeded in his ‘SNL’ cast audition.
He said: “I dodged so many bullets. Me being on ‘SNL’ would’ve killed me.”
Glover added: “But if I got on ‘SNL,’ my career wouldn’t have happened. And thank God.”
Read the full interview, ‘Inside Donald Glover’s New Creative Playground’ by Mark Anthony Green in GQ’s April issue and on GQ.com.