43. Childish Gambino - "Awaken, My Love!"
Release date: December 2
When Childish Gambino first shared "Me and Your Mama" in early November it was met with mixed emotions—excitement because there was finally new music and curiosity because the sound veered completely left from previous releases. A week later, Gambino returned with his immediately infectious second single, "Redbone." Though the two singles provided different sounds, the direction began to appear a bit clearer.
Although Childish Gambino earned the majority of his fans for his quick-witted rhymes, Donald Glover has earned more admirers throughout his career because of his versatility and willingness to take a step away from the norm—"Awaken, My Love" is the embodiment of this same sentiment. The 11-track album is heavily funk inspired, drawing clear inspiration from artists such as Bootsy Collins, George Clinton, and Sly Stone.
"Awaken, My Love" may not be the hip-hop album many fans anticipated from Gambino, but it dives head first into the elements that initially influenced the culture. After such a rough year, this album simply provides the feel-good music we need and deserve to hear.—Adrienne Black