A few weeks ago Donald Glover graced NYC with his presence, and I saw him perform a few times. Every time, he made sure to mention his album: how he recorded it, what great fun it was, how it would be dropping, etc. Maybe I’m a tool, but my knee-jerk reaction to this was, "Yeah OKAY, Donald Glover. Make jokes, not raps!"
Here’s a taste:
Let Me Dope You by Childish Gambino
I was a little wrong. He’s been rapping under the name Childish Gambino for a few years now, and his latest album, Culdesac, was actually his third album. Glover’s no production wizard (maybe that’s the point, and I enjoy the one-guitar minimalism anyway), but he writes admittedly good lyrics. Often, really good. This is where being a TV writer probably comes in handy. ("I can say anything/ call me John Cus-ick/ keep my dick wetter than the bottom of a cruise ship.")
He’s a little harder than you would think. There’s lots of talk of "hard niggas", "fucking your girl", and it’s not easy to strike the image of Troy from Community, rapping, from your mind – especially when his voice is just masculine enough to pull off the The Lil’ Wayne effect but so uniformly feminine that it reminds you of a female rapper. We’re not sure who. Wait – it’s Lil’ Kim. For whatever reason, there’s whisper of Lil’ Kim in his voice and his lyrics.
Above all, he sounds like a kid. Like a prosaically talented kid. (He’s twenty-seven.) Regardless, his music is fun and available for download for free off his site. Some tracks are hard not to play over and over again, if only for the novelty.