Not so Childish Gambino
Hey all, welcome back; now that we have those pleasantries out of the way, press play. See you in 4 and a half minutes.
What you just listened to is the first track, Outside, off of Donald Glover (30 Rock writter, actor Community) a.k.a Childish Gambino’s Camp released last November. Now I’m not usually a big fan of hip-hop, and really only picked up this album because I’m a fan of his on Community; but holy crap, I was not expecting this! The lines he dropped at the Community panel at 2011 Comic-Con referenced Toe-Jam and Earl and Invader Zim within 2 lines; figured I’d give this album a listen to hear well woven geek references into some decent rhymes, I wasn’t expecting the depth or raw honest emotion that this album contains.
Musically this album has a lot in common with my favorite aspects of a lot of genres; deep bass, soaring vocals and strings in the backgrounds and interludes.
Lyrically this is the purest and most honest thing I’ve heard all year. A lot of my old favorites have put out albums recently, however everything sounds like a carbon copy of itself; it’s Manson, but i’ve heard it before, it’s Counting Crows but they’ve got nothing new to say.
Now I’m white. Like whiter than a ghost. After a 2 month trek in Antarctica. I’ll never fully comprehend growing up in a world different than everyone else, or encountered any kind of racial struggle; but this first track was such a well told story and sung with such passion that I rolled a tear in the car. Are you serious? This is the goofy kid Troy I see every Thursday on Community that’s only allowed to have character depth every 4th or 5th episode? Couldn’t be; I mean Troy would certainly drop references to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and toys from the 80’s; but he wouldn’t make you laugh and cry in the same track, follow up a call back to Biggie with a Radiohead reference, call out James Franco and having you bobbing your head along to the hook all within 30 seconds.
Maybe it’s because of the honesty, maybe it’s because I wasn’t expecting something this deep, maybe it’s because he’s another ’83 kid and kinda in the same place growing up in life. Not that i’m saying i’m an internationally recognized name, with thousands of people packed in to see me at comic-con, well on my way to EGOT’ing; just saying we’re the same age, and there’s something more accessible about listening to someone in your same peer age group than someone older making references you might not fully appreciate, or much younger struggling thru things that might seem trite now by comparison. This next year we will both be hitting 30. I’ve been feeling like it’s time to grow up the closer I get to that date; to get more serious about life, to give up all the toys and games, to shed the trappings of youth. However this album is an awesome reminder that all those things that we loved growing up is part of what informed the person we’ve grown up into. If we turn our back on that we might as well shut the door on our personhood and personality all together. Remember and appreciate all the things that bring you joy, hold true to it, find your inner Childish Gambino.