Childish Gambino – “Me and Your Mama”
I’m not a diehard Childish Gambino fan. In fact, I’ll fess up and admit right now that I’ve never even listened to any of his hip-hop albums. It’s a problem. I’m working on it. But in the meanwhile, I have heard his funk/soul album “Awaken, My Love!”, and it’s one of my favorite albums of the decade – so much so, that trying to choose between “Redbone”, “California”, “Riot”, “Stand Tall” (should I just name the entire tracklist?) was pretty problematic. At the end of the day, we might see another track or two from this modern day classic sneak onto my decade list, but for now I have to roll with the cut that got me into Childish Gambino to begin with – the sprawling, neo-soul/funk/jazz highlight reel that is “Me and Your Mama.”
Every single time I so much as hear the chimes in the opening seconds, I have to listen to this song in its entirety. The way those proggy riffs come in moments later reminds me of Jimi Hendrix, maybe even King Crimson. In Donald Glover’s voice, I hear Prince with a little D’Angelo sprinkled in those falsetto cuts. Glover wears his influences on his sleeve here, but the way he fuses everything so seamlessly and modernizes it makes it fashionably derivative if anything; and I’d like to think said influences would be proud of this particular piece. “Me and Your Mama” is a songwriting masterclass, and an example of how to live up to those who inspire your work.