Childish Gambino "Atavista" Is Here: What Has Changed Since "3.15.20"?

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LAS VEGAS, NV - SEPTEMBER 21: (EDITORIAL USE ONLY; NO COMMERCIAL USE) Childish Gambino performs onstage during the 2018 iHeartRadio Music Festival at T-Mobile Arena on September 21, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)
Childish Gambino's "Atavista" is a rerelease of his 2020 album 3.15.20, though there's plenty of original material to keep fans excited.

Childish Gambino released his long-awaited project Atavista on May 13. The album delivers on his years-old promise that the full project would eventually see the light of day. Fans quickly took note of the fact that the album is a reissue of his 2020 release 3.15.20. Gambino released the original album, named for its release date, in an unfinished state. Despite its highlights, 3.15.20 contained choppy vocal mixing, timestamps in place of song titles, and no album cover whatsoever. Childish Gambino has clarified in recent appearances that he always intended to clean the project up and release Atavista as a finished work, explaining that he initially dropped the unmixed and unmastered edition as a precaution, fearing the world would collapse due to the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic.

Now that Childish Gambino has officially delivered Atavista in all its glory, he has meticulously fine-tuned each track. The choppy 3.15.20 mixes have been subsequently nixed from streaming libraries. However, Childish Gambino has made numerous changes since releasing 3.15.20 over four years ago, making Atavista a new and interesting listen for fans of all stripes. Let's dive into the biggest differences between the two projects, and highlight these changes for fans who may not be overly familiar with the original release.

Some Tracks Are Missing

The biggest change from 3.15.20 to Atavista by far is the absence of 3 tracks from the original tracklist. Childish Gambino removed the 2018 single "Feels Like Summer," a melodic harmony-heavy intro assumed to be titled "We Are," and a thumping, pulsating track titled "Warlords." While "Warlords" and "We Are" never fully materialized as concepts, "Feels Like Summer" acted as a leading single, making its removal highly peculiar. Despite this, "Feels Like Summer" remains listed on streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music under the banner of the Summer Pack bundle, along with its companion track "Summertime Magic."

Other tracks from the original release are still present in their cleaned-up state, though many of them have been abridged. One defining characteristic of 3.15.20 was the frequent and in-depth transitions between tracks. Childish Gambino has shortened or entirely eliminated many of these transitions on Ativista. The most significant instance of this change is the track "Why Go To The Party," originally titled "39.28." The new album condenses the song from a full 3-minute track into a 41-second interlude. For now, the only way to stream the tracks in their original form is to check out the original YouTube upload "Childish Gambino - 3.15.20."

Some New Tracks Were Added

Before you go thinking that Childish Gambino was overly downsizing when he finalized Atavista, be sure to check out the brand new songs which have never been available to stream before. The title track, which serves as the new intro, originally premiered live on stage back in 2018, generating a great deal of fanfare. Similarly, despite teasing it numerous times in the past several years, Bino exclusively includes the song "Human Sacrifice" on Atavista. "Human Sacrifice" has been one of the most sought-after songs in Childish Gambino's entire illustrious career. Numerous leaks of the track have surfaced online. Childish Gambino performed the soon-to-be hit live during his 2018 tour, and a snippet featured in a 2019 Google Pixel 3 ad. This hype inspired droves of fans to demand an official release.

Gambino Has Recruited Some Fresh Guests

While artists such as Ariana Grande and 21 Savage appeared on the original 3.15.20, Childish Gambino has recruited a pair of new vocal guests to bless the official Atavista release. Summer Walker provides some heavenly harmonies on the track "Sweet Thang." Likewise, Young Nudy drops by for a highly polarizing closing verse on "Little Foot Big Foot." The latter track was released with a new music video ahead of the Atavista drop, offering fans a first look at the new and improved single. The video, directed by frequent Childish Gambino collaborator Hiro Murai, serves as the first visual of Atavista. Gambino claims there will be visuals for each track on the project, rolling out alongside a special-edition vinyl.

Childish Gambino's long-awaited plan of dropping Atavista as he always intended has already paid off. Still, it's certainly a shame that the original 3.15.20 version was removed from streaming platforms. Regardless, the new project is the first music we've received from Bino in over 4 years, so that's a win. Fans around the world have flocked to analyze the music, the fascinating soundscapes, and marvel at the newly-released visuals.


About The Author
TeeJay Small is a professional humorist, pop culture columnist, and an avid enjoyer of all things hip hop. When he's not compiling dozens of monologue-style jokes about the most absurd news headlines, or furiously scribbling rewrites for his television pilot, you can find him carefully analyzing the lyrics to the latest Griselda or Dreamville releases, or digging in the crates to find the hottest up-and-coming rappers. After receiving his bachelor's degree in English/Communications from UMASS Boston, TeeJay set out on a journey to travel the world and develop a culturally diverse media career. He has been personally assured by both members of EARTHGANG that he is, in fact, part of the culture.