With his new Childish Gambino release “dropping” on November 15, Donald Glover is suddenly everywhere. He’s performing “Bonfire” on Fallon is the embed below. And his entire new album, Camp, is being streamed on NPR’s website today.
In introducing “Camp,” NPR says:
If you listen to Camp on a computer, do yourself a favor and open up Wikipedia and Urban Dictionary in separate tabs. Childish Gambino’s lyrics are so dense with analogies and comedic references that you’ll need those reference guides to decode some of his verses. While his lyrical content is fresh, he consistently circles back to a handful of topics: the trials and tribulations of high school, the feeling of never being “hard” enough or “black” enough to satisfy his peers, the many people who have called him gay, and his fondness for Asian women.
That said, it’s the rapper’s honesty that keeps things interesting. Glover owns his nerdiness and wears his insecurities on his sleeve. Nowhere is this theme displayed more clearly than in the album’s outro, in which he brings listeners right onto the bus with him as he comes home from summer camp at age 13, and tells a story that perfectly evokes the universal sting of rejection. Where does Childish Gambino fit into the the royal bloodline of rap? He characterizes himself best in a line from “Bonfire”: “Rap’s stepfather — yeah, you hate me, but you will respect.”
Before today I wasn’t really sold one way or another on Donald Glover as a rapper — but listening to Camp changed that. The kid’s legit. I especially enjoyed his reference to being molested by LSU girls in “Fire Fly.” I also enjoyed “L.E.S.” a lot. I can’t stop listening to it, in fact. And Brandon at With Leather feels pretty strongly about “That Power,” to say the least.
Dude is a goddamn star…