After staying out of the spotlight ever since the end of his last tour in October 2019, Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino, released a surprise album on Sunday, leaving fans to wonder whether this is the final album he has been alluding to for years.
We have so many questions about this release, which was verified by Glover’s management, according to NME. It does not appear to have a title and is only available on the Donald Glover Presents website streaming on a loop. The 12-track release features collaborations with Ariana Grande, SZA, and 21 Savage. The track list includes Childish Gambino’s 2018 track “Feels Like Summer,” as well as his song “Algorythm” which was used in a series of ads for Google Pixel.
Musically, the songs are thematically reminiscent of Glover’s 2018 releases blending experimental, layered sounds with Caribbean music, R&B, and hip-hop. The new release is under his own name rather than his stage name, only adding to people’s excited confusion. He still hasn’t put out his last release as Childish Gambino. The internet wants to know: if this album is under his own name, does it count as his last release or as the first of a new project?
The website shows a four-panel illustration of what appears to be a mock-up for an album cover showing a crowd of people who are either rioting or panicking. Some look excited, others appear alarmed. The scene evokes a similar feeling to music video for Glover’s Grammy-winning 2018 hit “This Is America.”
Glover and his music project as Childish Gambino were everywhere in the last couple of years. While Gambino was touring North America, playing Coachella, and appearing on Saturday Night Live as a musical guest, Glover was working on his hit series Atlanta, as well as taking on roles in Solo: A Star Wars Story and The Lion King.
In 2018, Glover promised that he would retire his Childish Gambino sobriquet after the release of his fourth studio album. In the past, Glover spoke of Childish Gambino as a temporary project. “I’m making another project right now, but I like endings, I think they’re important to progress,” he told the press after winning the Grammy for Best Traditional R&B Performance for his song “Redbone.” Releasing this surprise album under his own name could be the first step in releasing music outside of the Childish Gambino moniker.