Childish Gambino’s Guava Island Movie With Rihanna Could Be A Visual Album Debuting During Coachella

Donald Glover’s musical project Childish Gambino is headlining Coachella next weekend, which has many wondering if his long-awaited follow-up to 2016’s “Awaken, My Love!” — supposedly his final album before retiring the Gambino moniker — will arrive in time for the fest. As Complex points out, the situation may be more, uh, complex.

At his PHAROS festival in New Zealand last November, Glover debuted the trailer for Guava Island, a new film starring himself and Rihanna plus Letitia Wright and Nonso Anozie, directed in Cuba by close collaborator Hiro Murai (who also directs many of Glover’s Atlanta episodes and Gambino videos, “This Is America” included). There hasn’t been any promo for the movie since, but some stealth marketing appears to be underway.

Crack Magazine reported earlier this week that cinematographer Christian Sprenger, who has worked with Glover on Atlanta, had listed Guava Island as a “visual album” on his resume. Since then, users on r/hiphopheads have noticed several Guava Island teasers on Spotify lately. Listeners on the service’s popular RapCaviar playlist are hearing a message announcing that the playlist is “presented by Guava Island.” Ads with a Guava Island logo have been appearing on Spotify as well, labeled “SATURDAY NIGHT | APRIL 13.” Audio accompanying the ads features Glover singing over an acoustic guitar and announcing, “I’ll see you at the show.”

Gambino’s Coachella set is Friday, April 12. The Saturday, April 13 headliner is Tame Impala, who also seem to have a new album on the way but seemingly wouldn’t be involved with this (although Rihanna did reinterpret their “New Person, Same Old Mistakes” on Anti). And anyhow, this seems like it has been planned for many months, and Tame Impala weren’t even headlining back when the Coachella lineup leaked last October, so we can probably rule out a Glover x Rihanna x Kevin Parker supergroup. Rihanna, we should note, also was reportedly working on a pair of albums as of last summer, but again, it seems unlikely that one of them was a collaborative album with Childish Gambino. Stranger things have happened, I guess?

Technically Gambino’s performance will carry over into April 13, but in no way will it be on Saturday night. It’s all pretty unclear at the moment, but presumably it will become a lot clearer sometime before Sunday, April 14.