Redbone is a song from the third studio album by Childish Gambino, who performs under the stage name Donald Glover. It was released on November 17, 2016 and serves as the second single from the album.
The lyrics of the song revolve around a relationship between two individuals. One of them is a ‘redbone’, which refers to a lighter skinned black person. These people are often stigmatized and envied in the black community due to their beauty, body type and social status.
Moreover, this song is also about anxious thought patterns and cheating in a romantic relationship. The term'redbone' has its roots in the colorism that occurred during slavery in the US and its aftermath.
In this song, the protagonist is anxious about his girlfriend’s behavior and wants to be on her side. But he is unable to satisfy her unquenchable desire for the attention that comes with her lifestyle.
This song is a great example of how Childish Gambino and Swedish co-producer Ludwig Goransson meld many different influences into a coherent piece. The track features sounds from the 1970s as well as political allusions and contemporary concerns.
The music on the track is a fusion of classic R&B and current Hip Hop with some well-felt touches of funk. The sound that opens the track, which becomes the central theme, comes from a small Mellotron keyboard from the sixties, along with a Fender Stratocaster guitar, guitar effect pedals and a Rhodes piano.