A fresh, bracing and defiantly real release from an artist whom many had previously pegged as a comedy rapper, Childish Gambino‘s debut LP seems destined to be remembered as one of 2011’s dopest surprises. For those who still haven’t gotten the memo, new single Heartbeat offers a hint of the emotional complexity to be found in the man’s work. Half electro/house-informed dancefloor-scorcher, half crestfallen breakup jam, the record finds Glover juxtaposing stuttering synth-bass and four-on-the-floor percussion with haunting piano chords as he offers a painfully relatable account of his ambivalence toward a past love. Sleepwalking through his current relationship out of a refusal to move on (“So I’m chillin’ with my girlfriend, but she not my real girlfriend…”), he maintains an ambiguous relationship with his ex that only serves to aggravate his feelings of hurt and confusion: “Are we dating? Are we f*cking? / Are we best friends, are we something in between that? / I wish we never f*cked… but not really.” Complete with Gambino’s own vocals on the hook, this emotionally-fraught cut should strike a chord with anyone who’s ever struggled with letting go. For more, check out the artist’s Camp LP, out now in stores and online.
First DJ Booth Appearance:
"Break (AOTL)" (2011)
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