Childish Gambino Says "This Is America" Started With Drake Diss Song

Luis Suela


Childish Gambino, also known as Donald Glover, is one of the most multifaceted artists in the entertainment industry. In a recent interview with GQ, he revealed the origins of his 2018 hit song ‘This Is America’, shedding light on the story behind the lyrics, the making of the music video, and his creative process.

The Origin of ‘This Is America’

During the interview, Glover revealed that the song was initially written as a diss track aimed at fellow rapper Drake. He and his producer, Ludwig Göransson, worked on the song for three years before releasing it. According to Glover, the iconic central lyric, “This is America”, was originally intended to be a joke.

But as they worked on the song, Glover realized that it had the potential to be something special. He explained that the feeling of what was happening at the time - the uprisings and riots - heavily influenced his writing. Glover said that he was having sessions with other artists and even considered making it a trap version of “We Are The World”.

The Making of the Music Video

The music video for ‘This Is America’ was equally iconic, with its choreography and symbolism sparking numerous discussions and analyses. Glover revealed that the dance moves were heavily inspired by Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ video. He and his team studied the clip for a long time and wanted to create a moment in real-time that reflected the culture of 2018.

The decision to record the music video on film stock was deliberate, as Glover wanted it to feel like a moment. He and the director, Hiro Murai, chose to present the choreography as three continuous takes to avoid the internet robbing the moments.

Glover’s interview provides a fascinating insight into the creative process behind ‘This Is America’. From its origins as a joke aimed at Drake to its powerful symbolism and choreography in the music video, the song is a testament to Glover’s creativity and ability to reflect on the culture of the time.

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