• "12.38" is a neo funk-charged track that has Childish Gambino vibing about a romantic relationship. He is joined on the song by rapper 21 Savage, soul singer Kadhja Bonet, and singer-songwriter Atia "Ink" Boggs.
  • The track is on an album named 3.15.20 made available for streaming on March 15, 2020 before being swiftly removed. At the time Gambino titled the song "Vibrate." A week later, the rapper officially dropped the record with most of the song titles changed to refer to the time at which they appear on the album; this cut appears at 12:38 and is named as such.

    Kendrick Lamar pulled a similar stunt in 2016 with his Untitled Unmastered compilation album. A collection of previously unreleased demos, each track is titled after the date of the recording; for instance the record's opening track "untitled 01 | 08.19.2014" was recorded on August 19, 2014.
  • Gambino kicks off the song with a narrative about a romantic encounter with a girl. Kadhja Bone takes the female side of the hookup where she claims it was nothing special and just some fun. Ink concludes the track by trying to convince her lover to come back home with her.

    Meanwhile, 21 Savage's verse starts off on the same theme as he talks about a rich girl from Harvard to whom he "talks proper" when he calls her. However, the rapper swiftly goes off-piste, as he flexes about his wealth and complains about police harassment "'cause I'm rich and I'm black."
  • Prior to "12.38," Savage contributed ad-libs to Gambino's "This Is America." Gambino reciprocated the favor by appearing on Savage's track "Monster." The actor and rapper hasn't collaborated with Kadhja Bonet or Ink before.
  • Gambino co-produced the track with DJ Dahi, who has also worked with Drake ("Worst Behavior") and Kendrick Lamar ("LOYALTY.").


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