Childish Gambino’s evolution has found many pockets of development. His evolution as an artist is never limited to just one dynamic. He is the renaissance man of his generation. He embodies full creative. The time and effort he puts into his creative output remain unmatched, and it shows in music videos.
Whether it’s from a unique approach to camera angles or perhaps when he’s showing off his dance moves, Gambino’s artistic visual touch has taken his artistry to new heights. Throughout his incredible music career, Gambino has climbed higher each time he sets out to release a music video. We’ve compiled a list of Gambino’s best music videos below.
5. “Telegraph Ave” (“Oakland”) by Lloyd
“Telegraph Ave” is a visual escape to Childish Gambino’s world in Kauai. Gambino is accompanied by frequent collaborator, Jhené Aiko. The feel-good video follows the couple through various areas of Kauai. All is beautiful in the music video directed by Hiro Murai, until the sun sets and the bonfire is over. “It’s not safe here!,” a stranger who runs Gambino over yells out to Aiko. For some unknown reason, Gambino harms everyone except Aiko.
The video is a dip into Gambino’s brain; there’s always more beyond the surface of his creation. The song finds its home on Gambino’s album, Because The Internet.
From his album Kauai, “Sober” allowed Gambino the freedom to release his vocal skills. For the visual, Gambino pulls some tricks out of a bag in order to pursue a woman of interest in a diner on a snowy evening. With only the two of them in the place, Gambino does his best to wow the woman, using magic, attempted charm, singing, and dancing. Choreographed by Ian Eastwood, the lack of extra background energy occurring helps the focus of the music video. One of the best aspects of the video is Gambino’s relentless attitude to wow the woman. It’s all fun and games until she pays for her order and leaves.
3. “Sweatpants” feat. Problem
From Because The Internet, “Sweatpants” is an interesting video to digest and dissect. As we go through life, we all begin to notice traits in others that match ourselves. The video is shot in a diner, directed by Hiro Murai and Larkin Seiple takes over the photography. It’s one of Gambino’s most-watched videos, racking in over 122 million views on Youtube. Yet, there’s still much to figure out with Gambino’s direction for this music video. There’s always something new to catch every time you watch it.
2. “Feels Like Summer”
Directors Greg Sharp and Ivan Dixon truly captured the essence of summer, while also telling a story, with the use of Gambino’s lyrics for the song. In the music video, Gambino walks through the neighborhood and sees multiple familiar faces -- maybe some of your favorite artists. The video captures a year in 2018 for hip-hop. One of the most powerful moments was Kanye West being comforted by Michelle Obama. The character designs for the music video come from Justin Richburg.
“Donald is a fan of animation,” Dixon and Sharp discussed in an interview. “When he toured Australia a couple of years ago he reached out to us to chat about collaborating on something. It took a while, but he eventually had a project that he wanted us to work on. Donald authored the brief and already had an illustrator onboard to design the characters.
1. This Is America
It’s the song that earned Gambino Grammy Awards for Song of the Year and Record of the Year. It’s the song that had everyone talking for weeks. But, it wasn’t just the song causing all of the commotions, the music video’s symbolism did a bulk of the work. There’s familiarity with the Jim Crow pose, there’s a body being dragged off screen, fires are happening, and this all while everything continues on. Being in America, in this day in age, there’s a lot going on and there’s never a cease in issues that erupt and take our focus off of the issue that occurred before. We find ways to cope (as Gambino showcased kids dancing) and there’s an error in damage control. Hiro Murai takes center stage with his directing ability once again. The video has brought in over 505 million views on Youtube.
“I don’t want to give it any context,” Gambino said in an interview. “I feel like that’s not my place. I feel like if I do that, it doesn’t feel good.”
A bulk of Gambino’s art is up for interpretation. His lack of explaining the meaning behind his work has actually helped, in the grand scheme of things. He views art as such: he has his own concept and meaning behind his work, but he also allows the freedom for the consumer to create their own interpretation of said work. The song includes additional writing from Young Thug, 21 Savage, Slim Jxmmi, BlockBoy JB, and Quavo.