Rapper Childish Gambino shocked the crowd at his recent Governor’s Ball Music Festival performance by casually announcing his retirement from the hip-hop scene. The musician and actor, better known to some by his real name, Donald Glover, closed the show by telling the audience “You’re in my heart. I’ll see you for the last Gambino album.”
Glover confirmed the news at a promotional event for his two-time Golden Globe winning FX series, Atlanta. The actor and musician told the Huffington Post that he no longer felt his music career was “necessary.”
Glover’s rap persona was never meant to dominate his career. During a 2015 appearance on the Today show, he said, “I want to have periods in my life. I feel like Childish Gambino is a period that should come to a close. I like endings.” This also isn’t the first time Glover has shocked fans by suddenly walking away from a project. The actor famously retired from his lead role on the hit NBC comedy series Community during its fifth season, citing a desire to pursue work that offered him more independence and creative freedom.
Glover’s most recent album, the gold certified, Awaken, My Love!, marked a huge genre shift for the musician. Unlike his previous, largely rap-dominated releases, Awaken experimented with gospel, psychedelic rock, and funk. The album’s success may have played a part in Glover’s choice to retire from music. He told the Huffington Post “There’s only so far you can go before you just are the radio.”
Fortunately, while Glover’s rap stint is coming to a close, he still has a lively acting career. In addition to Atlanta, the actor is cast in the as-yet untitled Han Solo movie as the legendary Lando Calrissian. He is set to enter the Marvel Extended Universe franchise with an undisclosed role in 2017’s Spider-man: Homecoming. Donald will also be starring as Simba in the 2019 live-action remake of Disney’s classic, The Lion King.
Given the demands of his acting career, it’s understandable that he’d decide to step away from music. There’s also the possibility Glover could resurrect his Gambino persona eventually. Glover told the Huffington Post “You know, I like it when something’s good and when it comes back there’s a reason to come back, there’s a reason to do that.” His roles in the upcoming Star Wars film and Lion King remake show that he’s not adverse to projects that build on franchises fans assume had finished.