In a recent interview with GQ, the multi-hyphenate opened up about the origins of his emotionally-charged 2018 single — which he released under his Childish Gambino moniker. The lyrics and accompanying music video, reflect on social and racial injustice, police brutality, as well as the wider issues of mass shootings and gun violence happening across the US.
However, Glover has revealed that the track, actually started off as a joke and was intended to be a diss track for the Toronto rap star.
“I had the idea three years before,” he explained. “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.”
Additionally, Glover revealed how he and Murai conceptualized the “This Is America” music video, which he describes as “‘We Are The World,’ but in trap.” He also noted that him and the director were initially inspired by Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video.
Following its 2018 release, the track won Record of the Year and Song of the Year, at the 61st Annual Grammy Awards.
The heated feud between Glover and Drake started around circa 2014, after Glover called him out at a Sydney, Australia show, in which he professed he was better than him, Kendrick Lamar, and ScHoolboy Q combined.
Shortly thereafter, during an interview with the Breakfast Club, Glover stood behind his comments and revealed that every rapper should feel that way about themselves.
“Every rapper should feel that way,” he said. “Cause I feel that way. That’s my truth. I said those rappers in particular ’cause I feel like they’re the best. I feel like they’re the best. Kendrick, Drake, ScHooboy, I listen to them all the time. I think they’re just really good. I really do think they’re the best…I’m sure they’re fine with [that]. That’s the thing. Kendrick is fine with it. Drake is probably not taking it great.”
Glover added: “I know the TDE guys, like they’d understand. They’re one of the realest dudes in Hip Hop. They understand. They’re like ‘Yeah, you should feel that way’. We’re in competition. I remember when Because the Internet was coming out, School hit me, he was like ‘This stuff is crazy’ or whatever. And I was telling him the same thing. ‘Cause when it’s good I’m like ‘Man, I wish I had done that.’ It’s competition…”
The pair have since settled the beef and seem to be good friends. After releasing his third studio album, 2016’s Awaken My Love, which spawned popular track “Redbone,” Drake showed Glover some love after reposting a photo of him sitting alongside Nineteen85.
The prolific producer is the man responsible for the beats behind some of Drake’s biggest tracks (“Hotline Bling,” “One Dance”). Drizzy captioned the post: “Very Inspiring Humans.”