Donald Glover just shared some interesting information about his hit track “This Is America.”
The song and subsequent visuals quickly became a trending topic upon its 2018 release for its searing, poignant commentary on race and police brutality in the nation. But, according to Glover, the song started as something much less noble: a jokey Drake diss track.
“I had the idea three years before. I told [director] Hiro [Murai] the idea, and he’s like, ‘I really want to do that.’… The idea for the song started as a joke,” he told GQ in a video accompanying his cover story. “It started as a Drake diss, to be honest, as like a funny way of doing it. But then I was like, this s–t sounds kind of hard though. So I was like, let me play with it.”
Glover’s Gambino heated up a mostly one-sided feud with Drizzy in 2014 when he said during an Australian gig that his rapper alter ego was better than Drizzy, Kendrick Lamar and ScHoolboy Q combined. He later said his bravado was just part of the gig, no hate intended and the two have reportedly become friends in he years since.
He said he and Murai studied Michael Jackson’s iconic 1983 “Thriller” video for a long time to figure out “how do you make something… how do you make people care about anything anymore?… Well, you have to have a moment in real time.” What informed the song that went on to win record and song of the year at the 2019 Grammy Awards, he said, was all the Black Lives Matter social protests at the time, which inspired him to make what he described as a “‘We Are The World,’ like for trap [music.]”
And, in addition to shooting it on film for added drama, he said it was three total takes to give it that “continuous” feel.
The actor/rapper also broke down his most iconic roles, including Lando Calrissian in Solo and Earn in Atlanta, as well as how he’s navigating the next phase of his career.
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