Childish Gambino’s new mixtape “Royalty” begins with a twist, as it's not Gambino’s voice -- or even a musician's -- you first hear on the introduction track.
But it is someone you probably know.
“This ... is Blake Griffin. This ... is Royalty,” the Clippers forward dryly states on the nine-second opening track before some piano kicks in and Gambino -- aka Donald Glover from the NBC show “Community” -- starts doing his thing on the second track.
“You like that?” Griffin tells ESPN Playbook with a laugh at a 2K Sports event in Las Vegas. “I’ve known him for a couple years. I met him when I moved out here. And then I came across some of his music and started following him on Twitter, and he was following me, so we talked a little bit. I went to a couple of his concerts, and we became closer, and then he asked me if I wanted to do that on his mixtape.”
With Griffin in the middle of the NBA season and Gambino busy touring and acting, Griffin used a simple way to record his cameo.
“I literally was in my hotel in Sacramento, I think we were playing the Kings the next day, and I recorded it on my voice mail on my iPhone and sent it to him,” Griffin said.
It’s an evolution of a friendship that started on Twitter, progressed into Gambino rapping “Put your team on the map, Blake Griffin on the court,” on a verse in the song “Freaks and Geeks,” and now has Griffin's voice literally on an album.
“I just remember I started following him, and shortly thereafter he sent me a DM and said, ‘Hey man, I’m a big fan, blah, blah, blah,” Griffin said of his friendship with the actor-slash-rapper. “And I sent the same thing back. And we kind of just started from there.”