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Childish Gambino, otherwise known as Donald Glover, is everywhere. When he’s not working on his Emmy-award winning show Atlanta or the upcoming Star Wars spinoff Solo (in which he plays a young Lando Calrissian), he’s probably working on taking the next step in his already thriving music career.
Glover (and his creative agency/management company Wolf + Rothstein) has done just that by deciding to sign with RCA Records, where he joins artists such as Kesha, Zayn, Pink, and Justin Timberlake. Both Glover and RCA announced the decision early this week, with RCA CEO Peter Edge calling Glover “one of the most talented, multi-faceted, young entertainers of this era.” Despite the adjustment, Gambino will likely continue working with record producer and long-time collaborator Ludwig Göransson, who also composed the score for the highly anticipated Black Panther.
Deciding to move from his old label, Glassnote Records, (which represents indie artists like Mumford & Sons and Phoenix) to one that represents poppier and more mainstream artists may come as a surprise to Childish Gambino fans. But it’s a move that certainly isn’t without precedent, and one that Glover himself called a “necessary change of pace.” Back in 2014, Glover took to Twitter to call out Glassnote for mismanaging and lying to Glover about the music video for Because the Internet’s “Sweatpants.” And while he sent those tweets almost four years ago, it’s possible that he was too busy to commit to a label switch until now.
Variety reports that new Childish Gambino music will drop sometime in 2018, but we have no idea when in 2018 (we could get a new single on December 31, for all we know) nor do we know if Glover will follow up on his plan to retire his alter ego after releasing one more album. On one hand, Glover definitely doesn’t need to worry about creatively and financially sustaining himself after Childish Gambino is laid to rest. On the other hand, plenty of musicians have announced their retirement only to come back better than ever just a few years later (cough, cough, Jay-Z). So despite Glover’s insistence that keeping the Childish Gambino moniker alive “wouldn’t be punk,” who knows what’ll happen if inspiration strikes him again two or three years down the road?
You can catch Glover (as Childish Gambino) perform at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards this Sunday along with Kendrick Lamar, Lady Gaga, Cardi B, and many others. You can also tune to see whether or not any of Glover’s five nominations (including three for Awaken, My Love!’s “Redbone”) will lead to a win.