Meaning of “Redbone” by Childish Gambino
Redbone is a song by American actor and singer Donald Glover (also known by the moniker Childish Gambino). “Redbone” is a colloquial term used to refer to a Black person of fair complexion or a mixed-race person, and such a woman is the focus of this song. In the song, Childish Gambino is admonishing his “redbone” girlfriend for failing to give him the satisfaction he desperately craves for. He goes on to tell her to stay alert (“stay awoke”) because that is the only way their relationship can ever work.
Facts about “Redbone”
- The song was written by Gambino and Swedish songwriter, composer and producer Ludwig Göransson (also known as Ludovin).
- The song’s production was handled by both Ludovin and Gambino.
- Contrary to popular belief, Gambino’s vocals were never pitched on the track. Speaking on a show on the Australian radio station Triple J, Gambino said he never pitched his vocals on the song and that the pitched-like vocals that make him sound like a woman on the track was just him singing differently.
- Many have said that on the song Gambino sounded just like the late American singer Prince.
- The song was released on November 17, 2016 as the second single from Gambino’s third studio album Awaken, My Love!
- Redbone is a classic example of a sleeper hit in the sense that it debuted at number 75 in December 2016 and almost a year later in August 2017, it re-entered the chart and peaked at number 12.
- Till date, Redbone is Gambino’s most successful single. It even won Gambino the first-ever Grammy Award of his career in 2018.
- In addition to peaking at the 12th position on the US Billboard Hot 100, the song also peaked at number 51 in the UK Singles Chart.
Frequently Asked Questions about “Redbone”
Q: Is the song based on a true event in Childish Gambino’s life?
A: It is currently not clear if the song is autobiographical or not as Gambino has so far not said anything in relation to that.
Q: Has Redbone won any Grammy Awards?
A: At the 60th Annual Grammy Awards, which took place on January 28, 2018 in New York City, the song was nominated for three Grammy Awards in the following categories: Record of the Year, Best Traditional R&B Performance, and Best R&B Song. At the end of the day, the song won the Grammy for the Best Traditional R&B Performance.
Q: Did Gambino play any musical instruments on Redbone?
A: Yes, he did. He played the drums and glockenspiel. He also contributed backing vocals to the track.
Q: Which films and TV series has Redbone been featured in?
A: The song was used in the 2017 American horror film Get Out.
Q: Which genre(s) can Redbone be grouped under?
A: The song falls into a number of genres, most notably R&B, soul and pop.
Below is Childish Gambino’s legendary live performance of Redbone on the Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon: