Donald Glover won many people over with his new music project, Awaken, My Love! Even though the project’s only been out a few short weeks, it has landed on many year-end lists, including my personal favorites, for its vibrant, funky nature. But, what may be the most important co-sign of all comes from the Prime Minister of Funk himself, George Clinton, who spoke glowingly about Awaken in a recent interview with HHDX.
“I just heard it one time and I like the songs,” said the music legend. “I’m aware of his music and know he’s into P-Funk so I know it’s going to be some good music. I haven’t had a chance to get all the way into it.
Clinton said he hears the same key elements that many others have mentioned: his own work plus that of The Purple One. “When I did hear it, it sounded like a cross between P-Funk and Prince influence,” the funkateer said. “I’m proud that he’s into the funk and glad him and others are bringing some new funk back.”
The P-Funk influence is one Gambino acknowledged in a recent interview Billboard. He pointed back to hearing the sounds of funk in his childhood home. He couldn’t rightly describe them at the time, but they sound as if they left a mark on him, one he would try to recreate with Awaken, My Love!
“I remember listening to songs my dad would play — albums by the Isleys or Funkadelic — and not understanding the feeling I was feeling,” he says. “I remember hearing a Funkadelic scream and being like, ‘Wow, that’s sexual and it’s scary.’ Not having a name for that, though; just having a feeling. That’s what made it great.”
For Gambino, his music reflects the times, which happen to mirror the same rebellious spirit of the ’70s. “It felt like people were trying to get out of their minds,” Gambino said, “with all the things that were happening — and that are happening right now,” speaking in reference to current day movements like Black Lives Matter. “How do you start a global revolution, really? Is that possible with the systems we’ve set up? There’s something about that ’70s black music that felt like they were trying to start a revolution.”