Earlier this month, Childish Gambino
surprised the industry, his fans, and probably himself when he released the incredible psychedelic funk album, "Awaken, My Love!"
. Childish Gambino, the rapper alter ego of actor/writer/comedian/renaissance-man Donald Glover, broke from his usual style of R&B inflected mainstream hip hop to create a unique album that pays homage to artists like soul and funk legends like Bootsy Collins, George Clinton and Rick James. This shift in style came with a cultivated aesthetic, present in the album art, but now beginning to emerge in the visual components of the album.
This newest VR music video showcases his new aesthetic in the recording of Gambino's performance of "Me and Your Mama." In this video, Glover, decked out in day-glo tribal paint, dreads, and a neon grass skirt takes center stage to belt out the funky soul song. Behind him, a band of similarly dressed men jam out on drums, guitar, and bass, while neons strobe lights flash around them. This aesthetic of neon afrofuturism seems inspired by the visual themes of artists like Fela Kuti and the P-Funk movement that Gambino drew much of his musical inspiration from. Much like how the music on this album is a modern reinvention of his influences, merging older funk sounds with modern production and themes, this visual aesthetic is a modern reinterpretation of the afrofuturist visuals of the past as well, and it's most evident in his use of the new medium of VR video. With this medium, one can experience this concert video in a new light, especially when using the Pharos VR system that this video was released for. Whatever the meaning of this visual aesthetic, I think we can all agree that this video proves that the Gambino's newest tour is going to be lit.