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Childish Gambino Says ‘This Is America’ Started As A Drake Diss Track

5 April 2023 | 9:30 am | Jessie Lynch

"The idea for the song started as a joke, to be completely honest."

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Donald Glover, also known by his musical stage name Childish Gambino, has revealed that his hit song This Is America was originally intended to be a diss track aimed at fellow rapper, Drake. 

Speaking to GQ, Glover explained that he had initially created the track with Drake in mind, but later decided to change the direction of the song. 

“I had the idea three years before,” he says in the video interview. 

“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, to be completely honest, This is America — that was all we had was that line. It started as a Drake diss, to be honest, as like a funny way of doing it. But then I was like, this shit sounds kind of hard though. So I was like, let me play with it.”

The song, which was released in 2018, has since become a cultural phenomenon and a powerful commentary on gun violence and racism in America. Its accompanying music video, directed by Hiro Murai, has been widely praised for its stark and powerful imagery.

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Despite its initial intended target, This Is America has gone on to become a powerful statement on the state of America, with its message resonating with many people around the world. 

It's not the first time Glover has referenced Drake in his work. An animated version of the Canadian star appeared in the“Feels Like Summer music video, while an Atlanta episode on the ON BS rapper, aptly titled Champagne Papi, saw Vanessa head to a mansion party with her friends hosted by the star.

While Drake didn’t appear in the episode, he later commented, “this shit is surreal, I’m too high for this.”

The interesting tidbit comes following Glover teasing fans with a preview of his newest Childish Gambino track, Sticky.

The new tune served as the psychedelic soundtrack for the trailer to Glover’s new Amazon Prime TV series, Swarm, a sister show Atlanta.

“Sticky-icky / Somebody’s watching, so watch your back / Don’t look back, look at the mess you’ve made,” the song’s clip says throughout the trailer.

Meanwhile, the official Swarm Twitter account revealed that the series is set to feature new music by "Ni'Jah with Kirby featuring Childish Gambino," and shared a pre-save link to a new Swarm EP that will apparently drop Friday, March 17.