A still from Childish Gambino's "This Is America."

  • "This Is America" is taking the internet by storm, and has had 34 million views after 2 days.
  • It has already surpassed videos which YouTube labelled the top trending uploads of 2017.
  • "Trending" stories are classified by more than just hits, because the top videos are almost exclusively pop songs.
  • It is 6 million views clear of the "BBC dad interview," which was 10th, and is fast closing on the winner of 9th place.
  • The level of buzz and coverage it has generated suggests it is likely to go some distance more.

Childish Gambino's viral hit "This Is America" is taking over the internet with its infectious combo of searing commentary on gun violence and catchy pop.

And data from YouTube shows how the video is blowing up faster than some of the top trending posts of last year after being online for just two days.

At the time of writing, "This Is America" had a view count of 47 million, and was the #1 video on YouTube's "trending" page by a substantial margin.

This puts it ahead of some of the videos YouTube judged to be the top trends of 2017, which it released in a list last December.

It is worth noting that YouTube uses criteria other than total hits to work out whether something is trending, including views, shares, comments, and likes.

Childish Gambino is not yet in the same league as pop videos like "Despactio" and "Gangnam Style," which have billions of hits.

The sheer dominance of pop music in its all-time charts is likely part of the reason YouTube maintains a tweaked "trending" ranking to be able to highlight content with social impact beyond sheer number of plays.

In this arena, "This Is America" is already asserting itself.

The video already has more views than the 10th trending piece of 2017, the "BBC dad interview" which shows North Korea expert Professor Robert Kelly being interrupted mid-commentary by his children.

The official version of that video is on 27.7 million views, more than a year after it was published. Childish Gambino has surpassed this already.

"This Is America" is very close to the ninth piece, the short animation "In a heartbeat," which has a total of 36.1 million views after nine months.

It's hard to tell how the video will perform in the days to come. Based on the deluge of commentary and coverage it has generated, and its relatively long-term themes, it could be around for a while yet.

But equally, the video could peak, stall, and sit at a total not much greater than the one it is at already.

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