Donald Glover is about as close as the 21st century has to a renaissance man. Never sticking to one particular art form, Glover has forged a career in both music and film by possessing that most vital of things; aptitude. Never deterred by denial, Glover often struggled to have his voice heard when he was coming up in the dual industries. Eventually finding fame and notoriety in both fields, as a rapper and musician under the moniker of Childish Gambino and through countless important roles on screen, Glover has forged his own path and on his own terms.
Ever since achieving such worldwide recognition, Glover has chosen his projects carefully, even suggesting that he has now retired his Childish Gambino moniker. It all points to an artist who is incredibly selective in what he puts his name to. It makes the fact that he once picked five albums that he couldn’t live without all the more impressive and, below, we’ve got that list of essential records as well as a perfect playlist to boot.
The moment came when Glover was in conversation with the Toronto Sun surrounding the release of his then-new movie Solo: A Star Wars Story, a picture in which he starred as the iconic Lando Calrissian, a role many would argue he was born to play. It was a pivotal summer for the star, a time in which he also released a groundbreaking video and song title ‘This Is America’, easily one of his most arresting songs.
During the conversation, Glover refuses to be drawn on the meaning of ‘This Is America’ and, at the time, it arrived with a heavy thud and a sincere and searing comment on the Donald Trump administration. Glover’s refusal to offer up the blueprint of the song’s meaning shows, yet again, an artist who is authentic and devoted to their craft. It’s a sense of purpose reflected in his musical choices too. And, thankfully, he was keen to pick five albums to take with him to a desert island.
The first album is the stonking essential listen: The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. Not only is it the album one that Glover says he has listened to most of all, but it’s a certified cult-classic. Having left the Fugees, this record saw Lauryn Hill become an unfathomable heavyweight in the music industry and gave her the room needed to explore herself more fully as an artist.
Another artist who has always put their craft beyond their fame is Pink Floyd. Though one might not expect Glover and the psychedelic rock outfit to be particular bedfellows, it’s clear that Glover respects craftsmanship in any form and picked out the incredible effort Dark Side of the Moon, which ranks among Pink Floyd’s best LPs of all time.
Glover is also keen to pay homage to Kanye West but struggles to decide on a record. He eventually reaches a conclusion after the suggestions of 808s & Heartbreak, “808s is a good choice,” Glover replies, “But I’m going to go with My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.”
He also picks out another unsuspecting record, stating: “You know what, Fiona Apple, When the Pawn Hits the Conflicts…” It’s a stellar album that boasts his indie credentials. Glover also notes that he would have to bring with him a Stevie Wonder record, “I have to choose wisely,” he tells the Sun, “Songs in the Key of Life,” he resolutely confirms.
It completes a list of five records that tell us two things. Firstly, Donald Glover holds the highest respect for artistry, no matter the genre. Secondly, that Glover is undoubtedly the modern artist we all dreamed of.
Donald Glover’s 5 favourite albums:
- Miseducation of Lauryn Hill – Lauryn Hill
- Dark Side of the Moon – Pink Floyd
- My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy – Kanye West
- When The Pawn Hits Conflicts – Fiona Apple
- Songs in the Key of Life – Stevie Wonder