Donald Glover—also known by his stage name, Childish Gambino—elicited panic in listeners when he declared at the New York Governors Ball Music Festival in June 2017 that he would be retiring from music.
He closed his headlining performance at the festival saying, “I’ll see you for the last Gambino album.”
Glover’s announced conclusion of his rapping career as Childish Gambino has been difficult for his followers. It is hard to understand why an artist would retire when they received five Grammy nominations this past year.
“A very sad day has arrived upon us,” BET reported in regard to his retirement. “Fans are pouring over with every emotion.”
At the Grammys on Jan. 28, Glover reiterated his intended resignation of the Gambino stage name.
“I stand by that. I’m really appreciative of this,” Glover said in an interview after the Grammys, according to Variety. “But I like endings, I think they’re important to progress.”
“There’s nothing worse than a third sequel, like a third movie and we’re like, ‘again?’ Like I feel like there’s gotta be a reason to do things,” Glover said in an interview with Huffington Post, according to Rap-Up.
While it is disappointing to know that his next album will be the final one, what Glover is doing is commendable. It is just another aspect of Glover’s musical and entertainment career that is so unique, as it displays his consciousness as an artist.
Very few musicians announce the end of their career, and even fewer stop producing music at such a young age. It is especially important to notice, however, that Glover is taking authority over his own work, and it is laudable that he stands by the fact that the next album will be the finale.
“I think if a lot of things had death clauses in them, we wouldn’t have a lot of problems in the world, to be honest. I think endings are good because they force things to get better,” Glover said in the same Grammys interview, according to Variety.
It is clear that Glover is not influenced by the need to sell future records. Many artists continue to create music and go on tour simply for the sake of earning a profit, meanwhile, their new music is often not very high quality.
Furthermore, Glover sees his music and sequence of albums as art that speaks not only on an individual level, but also as a whole portfolio of music. It is evident that he is purposeful in the creation of his music; the messages and craft Glover wanted to share with the world has already been encapsulated in his previous albums.
Glover re-released his 2011 mixtape EP on Jan. 31, allowing it to be streamed on all services, according to Billboard. This not only served as a blessing for fans who wanted to stream old music, but also an opportunity for newer fans to view Glover’s previous work. This speaks to Glover’s desire to have his artwork express itself as well as be seen in its entirety.
Glover has opened up a conversation about producing music and setting timelines on art as well as how an artist’s career develops.
While it is disappointing to know that there will only be one more album by Gambino, it builds excitement and even more room for interpretation when it comes to his music. And until that album drops, we have his old albums and the newly re-released EP to tide us over.