Donald McKinley Glover Jr. who goes by Childish Gambino is multi-talented. He’s an actor, comedian, singer, rapper, writer, and much more.
His musical genre is a blend of Hip-hop, rap, funk, R&B, and soul and he’s explored many styles and aces them all.
In this article, I will be checking out some of the best Childish Gambino songs that you have to listen to!
Let’s get to it.
List of the Best Childish Gambino Songs
1. Redbone (2016)
Redbone is undeniably one of his best songs. The beat and unique sound are unforgettable. The way he sings is interesting, at a slightly higher pitch than normal.
The song is catchy and chill, with good vibes all around. The song’s meaning is about being aware and paranoid of adultery. Redbone the word derives from the term meaning light-skinned black woman.
Personally, the song’s meaning doesn’t resonate much with me. It has a straightforward meaning, and the song is just fantastic for what it is.
Also, the track was used in the hit movie ‘Get Out’ – which is another piece of art I love, where the song is used to convey the meaning of being ‘woke’ to racism instead.
2. Heartbeat (2011)
Heartbeat is a blend of house and rap from Childish Gambino’s album Camp. It’s about the love of your life and dealing with the complicated emotions around relationships.
It’s a song about messy relationships, something that is relatable to many. The lyrics tell a story.
I love the electronic sounds and the hook is on fire. It’s one of those songs you immediately want to join in on and sing along to.
3. 3005 (2013)
3005 is an iconic track from Childish Gambino from the album “Because the Internet.”
It’s catchy and has a fantastic beat. To me, the track is about his existential thoughts and friendship, and people. It’s a nostalgic song and can be interpreted further after watching the music video as well.
The bear in the music video could be referencing childhood and innocence. 3005 has got a bittersweet undertone and is full of meaning.
4. L.E.S. (2011)
Les is one of those classic Gambino tracks from back in 2011. From his album Camp, this song is simply about trying to get laid in New York.
You don’t need a deep meaning for a fire song. The L.E.S stands for the Lower East Side of New York. The production of the song and vocals are incredible.
It’s a classic rap beat with smooth sounds and incorporates string instruments artfully.
5. Bonfire (2011)
Bonfire is a borderline meme song from his album Camp. This track has some hilarious and memorable lyrics. The lyrics he raps are a stroke of genius and outrageous.
This song is far from some of his more romantic, smooth, and slow songs like Redbone. This song feels like a lyrical flex about his songwriting abilities.
It’s one of those songs where I remember all the lyrics and wish that I knew how to rap half as well as he does so I can spit these fire lyrics too.
6. Sweatpants (2013)
Sweatpants is a trap and rap song from the album “Because the Internet.” It was what Donald Glover left Community to do. Can’t even be mad about it because the song is fire.
The song is about rich people, and how if you had enough money – you could do whatever you wanted and wore whatever and no one would say anything. There are references to money in the song throughout like “silver spoon” which means being spoon-fed or privileged.
I think there are connotations relating to the fact that Donald Glover (Childish Gambino) is a black man in America, who had to work his way to the point he is at.
My favorite line is ‘You got some silverware but really are you eating though?’ The way this part sounds is why this song is high up on my list.
7. Freaks and Geeks (2011)
Freaks and Geeks is one of the most loved songs from Childish Gambino, one of the originals from his debut EP. The start of the song had me hooked ‘now that’s poetry in motion’, and the lyrics are iconic throughout the song.
He shows off his talented flow and songwriting abilities in this song. While this song is one of the originals, I feel like it’s underrated overall and deserves more attention.
8. Feels like Summer (2018)
Feels like Summer is a masterpiece. The meaning is incredibly important. The song is about worldly issues, particularly climate change and environmental issues, including water scarcity, air pollution, and deforestation.
The animated music video is the perfect accompaniment to the song, featuring an animated version of Gambino walking down a street. Although there are multiple celebrity cameos in the song, the most notable part of the music video to me is the glaringly warm colors reflecting the issues the song is about.
The characters in the video move slowly, reflecting the slow and burning warmth of the song. It’s absolutely a sad song presented in a vibey aesthetic sound.
An absolute cinematic and lyrical masterpiece.
9. Sober (2014)
Sober is an R & B song, with silky smooth melodies and Childish Gambino’s fantastic voice. The song addresses his personal experiences with his ex and dealing with emotional wounds.
Obviously, the song has heavy drug references, whether alcohol or other drugs. These drugs are used to cope with the pain, and the lyrics ‘now that it’s over, I’ll never be sober’ are saying now that he has lost the relationship, he will always be high on something to deal with.
It’s not literal, but deeply personal. Sober is a hit with many fans, and it’s definitely worth watching the music video as well.
10. This is America (2018)
The release of This is America made waves across the world. Released in 2018, this song commentates deeply on American issues. The sounds of the gospel-style choir, hip-hop, trap sounds, and rumbling bass makes this one of those songs that have many layers.
One of the biggest reasons for this song’s success is the music video that is filled with symbolism.
In one take, the music video depicts graphic violence to convey its message about guns and violence in America.
This is America references money, racism, slavery, guns, shootings, and how America likes to avoid the issues with frivolous distractions. While some of the symbolism is in front of your face in the video, many are also hidden.
This is just one of those songs with a lot to unpack.
It’s a piece of art.
11. Summertime Magic (2018)
Summertime Magic is a beautifully romantic song relating to summer, alongside Feels Like Summer. Released in 2018 as a part of the album Guava Island, the song perfectly represents the essence and feeling of summertime.
Fun fact, he apparently wrote the lyrics while on shrooms! The sound is soulful, tropic, and bouncy. It’s a wonderful, warm romantic song that conjures up feelings of intense love.
It has a feeling of nostalgia that will grow with time.
12. I The Worst Guys (Feat. Chance the Rapper) (2013)
The Worst Guys is the third collaboration between Childish Gambino and Chance the Rapper and part of the album “Because the Internet.”
It’s a simple rap, the lyrics are not as genius as some of his other songs. Though the beat and rhythm make the song a banger still.
Sometimes simple songs are still great.
13. Retro (Rough) (2014)
Retro is a hidden gem of a song. Many of the songs further down on this list are. Retro is a remake of his own song ‘Love is Crazy’ and appeared on his first-ever mixtape.
The beat is the best part of Retro. The flow is smooth, and the song has a summer beat. The hook and verse are fantastic.
14. Telegraph Ave. (2013)
Telegraph Ave. is the seventh track from his album “Because the Internet.” The third verse in this song is fire. This song to me is an embodiment of his creativity and originality.
The song and video go hand in hand and bring the song to another level. The song is about the travel Gambino does to see a girl in Oakland.
15. Algorhythm (2020)
Algorhythm is one of those songs that is a little controversial because it’s different. It’s a far cry from his usual style and genre. The song is one of the newer ones, from his album 3.15.20 and a strange and unique mix of experimental sounds.
The song gives me major sci-fi dystopian and cyberpunk vibes. The song is a commentary on materialism and how humans chase meaningless things and lose their human values. “You sell your daughter on that data stream” is the most powerful lyric to mean that conveys a lot of meaning.
The title of the song is a musical play on the word ‘algorithm’, which is something many people chase in hopes of getting picked up by the algorithm to get the money or fame they desire.
It’s an extremely relevant song with social commentary that is now.
16. Zealots of Stockholm [Free Information] (2013)
Zealots of Stockholm is a sad and somber song. It’s about loss and reflection. The song genre is rap with some synth sounds. It explores the relationship between his parents and familial figures.
Parts of the song sound almost like static-like glitches which reference a feeling of being broken. There is a theme of life and death.
It is a dark song. The beat drop is crazy though.
17. Do or Die (Feat. Flux Pavilion) (2013)
Do or Die is from his album Blow the Roof. It reminds me heavily of dubstep. It is a collaboration with artist Flux Pavilion. I feel like genre changes that deviate from his norm can get slept on.
The beat is awesome, and the two artists blend together their sounds really well. The music video leaves something to be desired though.
18. Me and Your Mama (2016)
Me and your Mama is an experimental piece. It has a dreamy sound that blends in funk and rock with some psychedelic elements. There are some female vocals in this song too which add a lot of depth to the sound.
The guitars at the end of the song and the bass drop make this song awesome. The song sounds very organic and has some of Gambino’s best vocals.
It sent chills down my spine. The screaming in the song makes the song so emotional and compelling.
19. Flight of the Navigator (2013)
Flight of the Navigator is another dark song, inspired by a death that impacted Donald Glover. The track is from his album “Because the Internet.” It is an ambient rap song; it makes me feel lonely and existential.
It is powerful and not as jammy as some of his other songs but that doesn’t make it worse. It is beautiful and dark and gives me chills.
I think you must be in a specific mood to listen to this one and fully appreciate it for the masterpiece it is.
20. Crawl (2013)
Crawl is another track from his album “Because the Internet.” It is part one of a series of tracks that is part of his unproduced screenplay. This song didn’t get excellent reception, while positive – it wasn’t the most popular song.
It’s an alternative hip-hop song with an energetic vibe and lots of references to internet memes.
21. Worldstar (2013)
Worldstar is the third song in Gambino’s album “Because the Internet.” I admit this album isn’t one of my favorites. Worldstar is a rap song commentating on the bad parts of the internet.
It explains that many people feel pressure to fit in thanks to the internet, it’s about the ability to publicly humiliate online. It’s easy to garner attention on the internet for doing something stupid but I think Gambino is saying he wants to be noticed as something great.
The theme of the whole album is more relevant than ever now in present times.
It’s still a fantastic rap song.
Alex is a man of many talents. He’s been playing music since he was young, and has been the main content writer at Tone Start for the past few years. Alex loves to play around with different styles of music and enjoys listening to anything from country to classical.