Donald Glover has been Childish Gambino for a long time so don’t live under the impression that he gained more fame from Community and decided to become a rapper. Be clear about one thing, Childish Gambino is the real deal and this is, without a doubt, Donald Glover’s Dark Twisted Fantasy. It can’t be coincidence that Camp comes out around the same time Kanye’s masterpiece dropped last year.
If you didn’t know that Donald Glover was a rapping maniac before, you’ll definitely know after Camp drops. His mixtapes have been a staple of my music listening regimen for awhile now. The thing that sets Gambino (Name created using the Wu-Tang Name Generator-no joke!) apart from your Yeezy’s and your Hov’s is that the man can shift seamlessly between gruff street raps one minute and some seriously melodic choruses the next. Take opener “Outside” for example. It’s epic on its’ own but add the choir-like chorus around the minute and a half mark and it turns golden. Or “Heartbeat”, the electro beats driven ditty that’s sure to be one of the catchiest singles released thanks to Gambino’s master craftsmanship and silky smooth singing.
When Gambino gets going, he can be downright abrasive. I know some fellow reviewers who heard “Bonfire” and were turned off immediately. Some of it is an acquired taste, I’ll admit. But once it’s acquired, it’s exquisite. Songs like “You See Me” and “Fire Fly” get in your face like no other but prove that Gambino has the skills to back up the hype. But for every one of those, there’s a “Sunrise” on the horizon that combines great beats and sing-a-long choruses.
If his beatmaking skills and rhymes weren’t enough to get you in line at the store on November 15th (Or at the computer at 12:01) then his lyrical and storytelling prowess are sure to be enough to get your ass out the door (or in front of iTunes). From home life troubles to dealing with fame, Gambino creates each song as if it’s going to be on the Barnes & Noble bestsellers list (Does that place even exist anymore?).
For the love of Jeebus, please don’t put this one down because you think it’s another actor turned musician. Childish Gambino is one of the few exceptions to the rule that some entertainers can just do everything. From the masses who are already attending his sold out shows all over the country, it seems that the believers are already out there preaching the good word of the Childish. Hopefully after Camp, Donald Glover will start getting approached as master rapper first and that guy from Community second.
Childish Gambino’s Camp is out now!