"There’s a bottom to the top of the moment/You won’t always be around/Catch a nigga coming quickly behind ya/People want you underground/Do you misbehave?"
I get a text from a buddy, “have you heard the new Gambino?” I replied with a “not yet, I’ve been too busy with work, I haven’t gotten a chance to sit down and listen to it.” That’s how I am with a new album, I’ve been dying to listen to. I sit down and listen from start to finish. We don’t shuffle around here. While at work, my friend sends me a screenshot of Quest Love’s response to the new album “Awaken, My Love!” from his Instagram. Quest Love, how he put it was waiting for some millennial ass hip hop and what he received was far more than that.
Gambino has grown so much the last few years, with his acting career and his music, both expanding to great potential. I’ve read some reviews before and after listening to the album. Many stating how this is the album, how NOW Gambino has proven himself. To some it’s a misfire. For me, someone that enjoys Gambino’s sound and still listens to his “Sick Boi” and “Point Dextor” I get so annoyed with the disses on “Camp” and the condescending Gambino has FINALLY done it. For me, Gambino has nothing to prove. With his joints, “Royalty” and “Camp” he’s already done just that. He lets you know, he’s not a pretender, this is him and this is his talent. He isn’t and will not be a puppet for anyone’s amusement. He loves to create, to experiment, to be outside the box and I believe that’s what he delivers in every album. With that said, “Awaken, My Love!” gives you just that, another side of Gambino, that he is willing to share. Experimenting, creating and giving you something he personally hasn’t done before within his albums. The Funkadelic tone to this whole album is appropriate on so many levels. The singing, the guitars, the sound of revolution being possible. Those moments when you start to get “The Wiz” vibes when you listen to Baby Boy and Terrified. The 70’s were an important time for Black music and for Black life in general. This album is a powerful reminder, music the greatest tool for empowerment, growth and reflection. My favorite tracks are Zombies, Baby Boy, Terrified and Stand Tall.
Keep doing you Gambino, keep creating. Your growth and fears, it’s what makes you the artist you are!
Words by Tesia Pennie