Donald Glover Admits ‘This Is America’ Was Initially a Drake Diss Track
When opening up about the song’s visuals, the multi-hyphenate reveals that the dance moves in the visuals were inspired by Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ video.
AceShowbiz –Donald Glover has gotten candid about the origins of his 2018 hit, “This Is America”. In a new interview with GQ, the “Atlanta” actor/creator divulged that the song started off as a Drake diss track.
“I had the idea three years before,” the 39-year-old, who dropped the song under his Childish Gambino moniker, shared. “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,” the multi-hyphenate further elaborated. “But then I was like, this s**t sounds kind of hard though. So I was like, let me play with it. So we just had that for a long time, I told Hiro the idea, and he was like, ‘Oh, let’s do it.”
Glover went on to note that the dance moves in the visuals were inspired by Michael Jackson‘s “Thriller” video. Claiming that he “studied” the clip “for a long time,” he added, “I was like, ‘How do you make people care about anything anymore? There’s just so much s**t.’ Well, you have to have a moment in real time – which was ‘[Saturday Night Live]’.”
“Fam and Chad, Wolf and Rothstein were like, ‘OK, we’re going to do this SNL thing, we’ll drop it at midnight,’ ” he recalled. “Also the feeling of what was happening at the time – because [of] all the uprisings and riots that were happening – [that] really informed my writing and stuff. I was having sessions with [Young Thug] and all these people, and I was like, ‘Hey, would you want to get on [this song]?’ I was making it like ‘We Are the World’ for trap. It just became something where I was like, ‘Yo, it needs to feel like all of it.’ “
Glover broke all of his previous YouTuve records with “This Is America” video, which tackles themes of racism, police brutality and gun violence. It was watched almost one million times in an hour and picked up over 12 million views within a day of its release.
The song itself earned the emcee Record of the Year and Song of the Year awards at the 61st Grammys back in 2019.
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