Decoding Childish Gambino's Stunning "This Is America" Visual

Gambino's return to music also comes with poignant messages about our culture. 

Childish Gambino's shift in sound on his 2016 Awaken, My Love! album left many wondering what would follow. As Atlanta's "Robbin Season" winds down and Star Wars SZN heats up, the artist has marked his final trek as his musical moniker with a gripping visual for "This Is America," an ode to today's ways of the world throughout music's colorlines.

Directed by longtime collaborator Hiro Murai, the video provides deep reflection into America's polarizing narratives of racial conflict, police brutality, and how we as people of color deal with it all. Gambino and producer Ludwig Göransson toy with a playful intro before getting into the skeleton of the track. With strategic assistance from 21 Savage, Young Thug, BlocBoy JB and Slim Jxmmi, Gambino points out the normality of the culture's biggest problems. It doesn't hurt that it carries a primal bop.

As the video carried conversations Sunday (May 6), it was quickly swallowed by fans, critics and those curious about Gambino's current mission. Murai and Gambino's visual take on "This Is America" is a journey between living a self-reliant life while carrying the burden social misconstructs on our shoulders.

With so much to unpack in four minutes, here are some revelations:

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1. The "Jump, Jim Crow" Pose 

One of the first images that sticks out is Gambino's uncanny silhouette to the Jim Crow. Penned in 1828 by white minstrel performer Thomas Dartmouth (T.D.) "Daddy" Rice, the recording "Jump, Jim Crow" marks the journey of yakubians mocking African-Americans in popular music. 'Bino pulling the trigger on the blinded also highlights how we've adapted the mockery in our everyday doings. While busting out a few body rolls, the artist mocks The Boondocks infamous character Uncle Ruckus.

 

2. A Salute To Richard Pryor 

There's something to be said about the creativity that goes into flipping black pain into art. 'Bino has plenty of icons to channel this energy like the late Richard Pryor. His quick homage mirrors Pryor's The Anthology 1968-1992 comedy album. Throughout the album, Pryor makes eerie jokes about police brutality and racial unrest that still happens today.

The photos from the album cover featured Pryor with a gun and an American flag as the backdrop. It was special theme highlighted in iconic photographer Henry Diltz's photos. He did a similar photoshoot with fellow icon David Crosby.

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happy 4/20 America. keep smokin’ em.

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3. Mumble Rap's Avenger Squad

Instead of pulling a Thanos on the mumble-trap world, Gambino brings together the artists who are leading it. While many things have been said about sub-genre, their ad-libs permeating though "This Is America" keep your head bobbing. While artists like Kendrick Lamar and J.Cole have been more vocal in social issues, 21 Savage, Young Thug, BlocBoy JB and Slim Jxmmi have done so in other ways. Whether it's providing school supplies to children or playing caretaker to family members, the music they're shunned for making has helped changed their lives for the better.

READ: What Have Young Thug And Childish Gambino Got Cooking?

4. The Children Are Always Watching

They say listen to the kids, but most of the time, they're listening to us. From the start of "This Is America," children rocking uniforms are following Gambino's dance moves (by choreographer Sherrie Silver) as police clash with protesters. One kid is also seen with a Cash Cannon on the roof of a car while others are recording the many juxtapositions on their phones. As the scenes get shorter, the underlying messages get more poignant, showing just how troublesome our attention spans are getting. It also brings about the connection of African and black dance moves like Blockboy's shoot dance to the South African Gwara Gwara.

5. Swimming in the Lack of Luxury

Trends come and go, but some memories rest peacefully in nostalgic culture. A number of Toyotas are seen in one of the closing scenes like the Toyota Tercel 4wd Wagon, the Toyota Corolla AE90 Sedan and the Toyota Corolla KE70 Wagon. With all vehicles dating to the late 70s-80s, it hold's true to Murai's vision of America adapting foreign (in this case Japanese) ideas as our own without merit. We're also blinded by the message with a SZA cameo and Calvin The Second, not Trayvon Martin's father. 

READ: Trayvon Martin’s Dad Was Not In Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” Video

6. Black Bodies, Mental Health < The Strap

America's obsession with guns is a stronger duo than peanut butter and jelly. This is showcased multiple times in "TIA," from the reference to the Charleston Nine, to the dragging of bodies. The careful handling of guns by the adult (Gambino) and the children also distracts us from the mental anguish we suffer throughout these times. With May being Mental Health Awareness month, 'Bino points to this with a man falling to his death as the dance party continues.

7. A Message from Stephon Clark

It's unknown how long Gambino took to create his new tunes, but elements from recent police shootings are strongly referenced. The lyric, "This a celly (ha), That's a tool (yeah)," is an ode to Stephon Clark, who died at the hands of police in March when officers used deadly force after mistaking a cell phone for a weapon. Cops and protesters are chasing each other to push their messages as the body count continues.

8. Horseman of the Apocalypse

One of the most chilling references is the most subtle. As unrest continues, a reference to one of The Four Horsemen of the apocalypse comes to a clear view. Highlighted in the Book of Revelation via the Bible, they differentiate in meaning. The white horse holds elements related to death, conquest or at times, the Antichrist.

9. The Ending is a Full Circle Moment

'Bino does a fine job of placing all of the above elements together as the end shows his spirit catching up to the harrowing reality that is America. Inalienable truths will always be on the horizon. Pieces of Young Thug's final words on the track sum it up perfectly, "You just a Black man in this world, You just a barcode." As Gambino runs from the sunken place (hint: Get Out star Daniel Kaluuya introduced Glover's performance of "This Is America" on SNL) he's telling us all to do the same.

Rewatch the video for the fifty-eleventh time above.

READ: ‘Atlanta’s’ Music Supervisors Aren’t Breaking Records, They’re Educating The Youth

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8 Best Samples From Megan Thee Stallion, Tyler The Creator And DJ Khaled's Projects

Megan Thee Stallion, DJ Khaled and Tyler, The Creator have more in common than just a release date. The artists also know a thing or two about thoughtful sampling.

Their projects, which all happen to be some of their best efforts, find inspiration from 70s soul and deep 90s underground jams. Jackson 5, Jay-Z and Sizzla were sampled on DJ Khaled's previous release Grateful, but with Father of Asahd, the producer and proud dad jumps back into the crates. This time around, modern hits are used like Ms. Lauryn Hill's "To Zion" and Outkast's "Ms. Jackson."

Megan Thee Stallion's samples also prove her rhymes aren't the only thing fans should pay close attention to.

Check out some of our favorite samples from this week's releases below.

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Megan Thee Stallion- Fever 

1. "Hood Rat S**t"

Sample: Latarian Milton's Viral Video (2013)

Plucked from the wonderful world of viral videos, Megan uses the then 7-year-old's mischevious joy ride to accurately describe how she rolls with her crew.

2. "Pimpin"

Sample: DJ Zirk & Tha 2 Thick Family featuring 8Ball & MJG and Kilo-g  "Azz Out" (1996) 

There's something to be said about Megan's very clever samples. The chorus to the late 90s underground gem stems from southern legends like Tennesee's 8Ball and MJG along with NOLA's own Kilo-g. Megan grabs a few bars from the track and puts her own twist on them for the chorus: "Stick 'em up, stick 'em up, raise 'em up, raise 'em up Drop it off in his fucking face just to saw it off/Gotta get my a** ate, gotta make that a** shake/Gotta swipe this ni**a card so much they had to call the bank"

3. "Simon Says" featuring Juicy J 

Samples: Billy Paul, "Me And Mrs. Jones" (1972), "Looking For Tha Chewin,'" DJ Paul (Ft. 8Ball, DJ Zirk, Kilo-G, Kingpin Skinny Pimp & MJG) (1992)

Another variation of the aforementioned track is also heard on her collaboration with southern legend Juicy J. The soft intro by way of Bill Paul's "Me and Mrs. Jones" also offers a soulful touch to the track.

DJ Khaled- Father of Asahd

4. "Holy Mountian" featuring Buju Banton, Sizzla, Mavado and 070 Shake) 

Sample: "One Spliff a Day," Billy Boyo (1981) 

Boyo's legendary riddim has been used by a bevy of artists including SiR and Wiz Khalifa but Khaled's curation of the track with some of the biggest names in reggae takes it to another level. It also doesn't hurt that his longtime friend and icon Banton opens the album.

5. "Just Us" featuring SZA 

Sample: "Ms. Jackson," Outkast (2001) 

This sample definitely raises the eyebrows, but the careful loop paired with SZA's sing-rap flow makes it worth a listen.

6. "Holy Ground" featuring Buju Banton 

Samples: "To Zion," Ms. Lauryn Hill and Carlos Santana (1999) 

Grand opening, grand closing. Banton closes out the album with soul-baring lyrics and a thoughtful sample to match. Carlos Santana's chords from the original track give the song a sentimental feel along with Banton's lyrics about mass incarceration, cultural warfare and spiritual freedom.

Tyler, The Creator- IGOR

7. "A BOY IS A GUN" 

Samples: "Bound," Ponderosa Twins Plus One (1971) 

Tyler might have gotten inspiration to sample this song from Kanye West (Bound 2), but his take is smooth and subtle as he navigates through love and heartbreak.

8. "ARE WE STILL FRIENDS" featuring Pharell Williams 

Samples: "Dream," Al Green (1977) 

Underneath IGOR's tough exterior lies a gentle soul. The placement of Al Green's "Dream," on the latter end of the album takes the listener on a starry love high. Pharrell and Tyler allow the sample to act as a skeleton for the song as they point out how to keep love alive.

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Issa Vibe: The Best Songs To Fit Your Different 4/20 Sessions

April 20th isn’t a national holiday, but it might as well be.

Although recreational marijuana use is only legal in 10 states, the U.S. is home to approximately 35 million regular users of cannabis, according to a survey done by Yahoo News and Marist University. That's 10.6 percent of the American population and while that may seem minuscule, the numbers are growing daily and it's understandable.

Weed has now become a staple of American culture; it's become a legitimate business in the states where it's legal, it's now part of the way people socialize, and better yet it's a theme in some of the hottest music out today. "Kush" has been included in some of the hardest verses that millennials and generation-z kids have heard in their lifetime.

Wiz Khalifa and Snoop Dogg, amazing emcees in their own right, are also widely known for their love of the green plant. Wiz's biggest album, Rolling Papers is clearly influenced by weed and along with the Snoop Dogg-assisted "Young, Wild & Free" is all about that green positivity.

There's an endless list of hits about rolling up a joint, hitting it and passing it, but what about moods? Whether it's a bowl, a blunt or an edible weed, can leave people feeling a variety of ways and that all can be traced to a certain strand of weed someone's inhaling, or the mood they're already.

Regardless, it's important to be prepared and have music ready to match whatever feelings marijuana concocts; and that's why VIBE compiled an adequate list of songs for each of the main pot moods.

So on this 4/20, sit back, relax, smoke and find the songs that suit the vibe.

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The "Let Me Chill Out" Mood 

Sometimes the best way to come down from an over the top high is to play some tunes with a soft beat and a light voice. The best artists in the game right now, like Jhené Aiko for instance, have created that sound that's perfect for when relaxation is needed, so of course, she made the list.  These are the top four songs that can help anyone kick back and relax if a pull from a joint just isn't hitting the right way.

"Blue Dream" by Jhené Aiko "Muse" by Afro Nostalgia "Summer Games" by Drake "LOVE." by Kendrick Lamar (feat. Zacari) The Bad B*tch Hours or "Top Two and I'm Not Two" Mood 

You look around the room and realize: you're top two and you're not two in it. All it took was one or a couple of puffs and then a pass to make you feel pretty good about yourself. One of the main upsides to smoking that's constantly mentioned in the media is that it can help alleviate chronic pain, well, another positive to it is that it can leave you feeling sexy, sensual and everything in between.

This is that high that can make you feel that you're significant other is lucky to have you, and subsequently makes you hit them up, that tells you: you're single and ready to mingle. It's a smoking session that lets you know: if you shoot your shot now, you'll score and it's a session that you want music playing that only affirms how sultry and seductive you feel. If this is how 4/20 leaves you feeling, putting on some RiRi or even Young Thug can effectively get you 'in your bag.'

"Same Ol' Mistakes" by Rihanna "Tyrant" by Kali Uchis (feat. Jorja Smith) "Worth It" by Young Thug "Smoke Break" by Chance the Rapper (feat. Future) The "Head in the Clouds" Mood 

More often than not, edibles have the power of leaving people spaced out and speaking slowly, after consuming them. Sometimes smoking weed, or hotboxing with friends is a silent event. Either everyone's consumed by their phones, or every other person has been looking at a nonexistent spot on the wall for the past 15 minutes.

Regardless this isn't the high where people want to hear "Act Up" by City Girls, no matter how much they love them. No, this is the high where people need music that takes them on a journey. Songs where the production is out of this world and it seems like the artist specifically made the song for a smoke session like no other. Travis Scott's ASTROWORLD is full of tracks with that vibe, and Lil' Wayne, a weed connoisseur of his own, has songs that fulfill that need too. Smoke a bit and let the weed do its thing.

"ASTROTHUNDER" by Travis Scott "I Feel Like Dying" by Lil' Wayne "Hyyer" by Kid Cudi "St. Tropez" by J. Cole The "Got the Giggles" Mood 

This is when the blunt hits perfectly and there's nothing wrong in the world or when the bowl did its' job and leaves everyone feeling silly. A "feel good high" is the best way to describe and the best way to live through that kind of smoke session is to listen to some "feel good music." These are the songs that can have people swaying unknowingly to its' beat, or the tracks that leave people smiling from ear to ear. This is the session that lets people know that "this is it chief," and here are the best songs to go along with it.

"Pass the Vibes" by Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment "Dreamcatcher" by Metro Boomin' (feat. Swae Lee & Travis Scott) "It's a Vibe" by 2 Chainz (feat. Ty Dolla $ign, Trey Songz & Jhené Aiko) "Binz" by Solange
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Kush & Splendor: 5 CBD Beauty Products That’ll Take Your Self-Care Routine From 0 To 100

Lotions, creams, and salves—oh my! With cannabidiol (CBD) popping up in just about every product you can imagine, the cannabis-infused beauty industry is clearly on the come-up. In fact, analysts predict that the “wellness” movement—as well as the legalization of Mary Jane across the world—will help rake in $25 billion globally in the next 10 years, according to Business Insider. That’s 15 percent of the $167 billion skincare market.

And what better way to up the ante on one’s wellness routine than with all-natural CBD? Just ask Dr. Lana Butner, naturopathic doctor and acupuncturist at NYC’s Modrn Sanctuary, who incorporates CBD in her treatments.

“CBD is a fantastic addition to acupuncture sessions for both its relaxation and anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving effects,” Butner shares with Vixen. “The calming effects of CBD allows for patients to deeply relax into the treatment and really tap into the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for rest, digestion and muscle repair/regeneration.”

She adds that CBD’s pain-relieving effects are “far-reaching,” from muscular and joint pains to migraines and arthritis—and even IBS and indigestion.

The magic lies in CBD’s ability to impact endocannabinoid receptor activity in our bodies. Without getting too wordy, our bodies come equipped with a system called the endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is the HBIC over our sleep, appetite, pain and immune system response. Also known as cannabidiol, CBD teams up with this system to help reduce inflammation and interact with neurotransmitters. According to Healthline, CBD has also been scientifically shown to impact the brain’s receptors for serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for regulating our mood and social behavior.

All that said, it’s important to note that not all CBD products are created equal. Many brands cashing in on the green beauty wave use hemp seed oil, sometimes referred to as cannabis sativa seed oil, in place of CBD... which doesn’t make them any less great! Hemp seed oil is actually high in antioxidants, amino acids, and omega-3 and -6 fatty acids—all of which are thebomb.com for your skin.

“It’s generally viewed as a superfood and is great for adding nutritional value to your diet,” Ashley Lewis, co-founder of Fleur Marché, told Well and Good last month. “In terms of skin care, it’s known as a powerful moisturizer and skin softener that doesn’t clog pores or contribute to oily skin.”

However, when companies start marketing CBD and hemp oil as one-in-the-same, that’s when things get a bit tricky.

“The biggest issue is that hemp seed oil and CBD are two totally different compounds that come from different parts of the hemp plant, have different makeups, and different benefits,” Lewis added. “Marketing them as the same thing just isn’t accurate and does a disservice to consumers who are expecting certain benefits that they won’t get from hemp seed oil and who are often paying more for what they think is CBD.”

So if you’re looking to benefit from the perks specifically attributed to CBD, make sure you’re reading labels before buying, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Hell, ask for a product’s test results, while you’re at it. It never hurts to be sure.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, are you ready to see what all the hype is about? For this 4/20, we rounded up a few CBD (and hemp!)-infused products to help give your self-care routine a bit of a boost. Looks like your holiday just got that much kushier. You’re welcome!

Note: Data and regulations surrounding CBD and its use are still in development. That said, please don’t take anything written in this post as medical or legal advice, and definitely double check the laws in your state. Also, please do your body a favor and hit up your doctor before trying any new supplements. We’re just tryna look out for you. Okay? Okay. Read on.

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