"Toxic" (Feat. Danny Brown) [Royalty 2012]
Both Childish Gambino and Danny Brown have been known to use unconventional influences and samples in their music, so "Toxic," the liberal Britney sample feels right. Of course, the fact that it's flipped in such an urgent, disorienting way puts it in a similar space to much of Danny's XXX material (and actually sounds a little like the abrasive "Freestyle 4" we'd later hear on Kanye West's The Life Of Pablo). The track definitely feels like Gambino getting into Danny's world, a technique he took on much of ROYALTY, but he wears it better here than almost anywhere else on the tape.
Top 5 Childish Gambino Collaborations
"Toxic" (Feat. Danny Brown) [Royalty 2012]
"Black Faces" (Feat. Nipsey Hussle) [Royalty 2012]
ROYALTY was effective not only because Gambino's great choice of collaborators, but also his willingness to be adventurous with the people he worked with. Nipsey Hussle certainly wouldn't be anyone's first guess as a Childish collaborator, but he turns out to be one of the best. "Black Faces" has a similar feel to a lot of the post-"I'm One One" records of the time, and its good territory to find the middle ground between the two rappers, who each turn with braggy verses that also manage to slip in some social commentary.
Chance The Rapper- "Favorite Song" (Feat. Childish Gambino) [Acid Rap 2013]
Chance The Rapper has become Childish Gambino's most natural collaborator, and "Favorite Song," a deep cut on Chance's breakthrough project, Acid Rap, is the second time the two worked together, after testing the waters on Royalty. Their complimentary styles were enough for the the two to join forces later on Because The Internet's "The Worst Guys," as well as the promise of a collaborative EP between the two. Like most potential collab projects between big artists, things have been up in the air for a few years, but Chance has confirmed that the EP does "exist," whatever that means.
"Pink Toes" (Feat. Jhene Aiko) [Because The Internet 2013]
Unlike the other tracks featured on the list, "Pink Toes," is a record that finds Gambino pulling out his singing voice, bringing forth a catchy funk that's somewhere between N*E*R*D and Toro Y Mois. Joining him here is Jhene Aiko, a kidred spirit not unlike Chance, but one that brings out a different side of his musical palette. Much like we've heard on Twenty88, her collaborative project with Big Sean, Jhene is good at classic duets bringing her own perspective as a counterpoint to her fellow vocalist. Moreso that "Bed Peace," "Pink Toes" is a successful sweet spot between Gambino and Aiko's sounds, embracing warm sounds and harmonies that compliment both of their vocal performances.
"Let Your Hair Blow" (Feat. Young Scooter) [STN MTN 2014]
Raised in Stone Mountain, Georgia, Childish Gambino has always had close ties to Atlanta, and it's inspired him to produce an upcoming FX show on the city's hip-hop scene. As someone who's been paying attention to the music coming out of the city, Gambino knew where to turn to when he made his STN MTN project, enlisting both Young Scooter and Zaytoven for "Let Your Hair Blow," the third part of a suite that included freestyles over ATL hits, Future's "Move That Dope," and Maceo's "Nextel Chirp". By the time Scooter comes in over the Zay beat, it sounds right in line with what came before it, as Gambino allows him the space to flesh out a sticky hook, before he himself adopts a similarly loose flow, occupying the pocket Scooter dug out earlier in the song.
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Looking back at some of Gambino's best collaborative moments.
Childish Gambino isn't someone who often loads his projects with features, but over the course of his career he has made some special bonds with a couple of artists, as well as experimenting with other rappers' sounds on his ROYALTY mixtape. With news that his PHAROS album is on the way in September, we've decided to revisit some of the best work Gambino has done with other artists. Click through the galleries to see some of the more interesting work the rapper has done with the likes of Chance The Rapper, Jhene Aiko, Danny Brown, and more, and let us know who he should work with on his new material in the comments below.