In just under two weeks, Childish Gambino’s new song, “This Is America” has surged to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Perhaps more importantly, though, the song, and particularly its accompanying music video, is a searing critique of American culture, and the internet is still bouncing with the work’s various interpretations and their implications. The song is also notable for its use of ad-libs from a number of different artists, including Young Thug, Quavo, 21 Savage, Slim Jxmmi of Rae Sremmurd, and BlocBoy JB.
BlocBoy JB contributed quite a bit to “This Is America”: not only did he record ad-libs for the song, but Gambino also incorporates the “Shoot” dance made popular in the video for “Look Alive,” BlocBoy JB’s hit with Drake. Billboard spoke to BlocBoy to ask him how the collaboration happened and how he likes the video.
BlocBoy says that Gambino reached out to him for his vocals. “[They] made it seem like an organ [donation],” he said. “That beat was so motherf*cking hard, and that’s all that was. I was like, ‘Man, I ain’t going to lie, I want to rap on this motherf*cker.’” Ultimately, though, BlocBoy just did what he had been asked to do. “I said I was going to keep it simple. I had other music to get back to anyway,” he said.”
The first time BlocBoy heard the song, he also saw the music video. “The video is real-deal lit,” he said. “Soon as he started hitting the dance, I was like, ‘Oh, word!’ I didn’t know he knew how to dance like that.” His favorite part of the video is when Glover “shot the dude in the head and then he had the choir singing.”
“That sh*t is America. Motherf*ckers are dying every day,” he added.
Regarding the “Shoot” dance in particular, though, BlocBoy was only as superlative as he could force himself to be. When asked to rate how well Gambino did his dance, BlocBoy said: “Nobody can get a 10. He’ll get a 9. Only me gets the 10.”