March 8, 2011 11 comments
It’s 12:30 am on a Wednesday night, and you’re willfully engaged in a Social Media Time Suck. You’ve already logged into Facebook earlier, and masturbated…, errm, crept on your ex-gf’s new photos from her trip to the beach to visit her “bestie.”
So, you move to MySpace, but you forgot your password, and, after several failed attempts, your account gets locked.
The last and final move is to Twitter. Hoping to attract new followers, you check the trending topics in hopes of flexing your wit for the mindless masses. You scan the list, and mixed amongst the ubiquitous tags about Jo Bros, Beliebers, Korean Boy Band Fans and some variation of “Stuff Black People Do” you see it… Two words that catch your eye: “Childish Gambino”.
Much like when you see or hear anything related to “Chris Webby,” your first instinct is confusion.
“What the fuck is a Childish Gambino?” You ejaculate loudly.
Clicking on the WhatTheTrend.com Explanation available on your HootSuite Desktop Client reveals that Childish Gambino has just released a new music video for “Freaks and Geeks.” Still in the dark, you hit up the infinite wisdom of Google and voila… there it is:
Clicking it fills your vision with a beautifully-shot, one-take video of a guy in a dope-ass red hoodie who is energetic as fuck skipping around an abandoned warehouse, rapping his lyrics. It starts with general braggadocio, nothing special, but somehow you are drawn by his sincerity in his lines. Then you get hit with the first in-your-face punchline.
As an English major and one who dabbles in amateur cumshots, you absolutely lose your shit, “This guy references e.e. cummings, the preeminent voice of 20th century poetry? Holy shit. Who does that?”
A choral “Oh Yeah” kicks in and the beat drops. Two lines later, you get subtle fashion word play.
You finally get to the end of the video and the guy looks familiar but, you are too engrossed with his magnetism, his style, his wordplay, his… dare I say it?… swag. He’s like ‘06 Lil Wayne, Kanye West, mc chris, XV and Drake all rolled into one. Yet, somehow, he has his own sound. You want to lump him in as another internet backpack rapper, but you can’t. The distinctiveness of his beat choice, his presence on a track and his wittiness has you hooked. You cannot stop listening.
You delve into his website and search YouTube with blinders on listening to Adele Remixes, New EP Leaks, his Culdesac album and his numerous mixtapes. After hours of voraciously consuming his catalog, it dawns on you… I know where I’ve seen this guy, and you are finally able to answer that question: “What The Fuck Is A Childish Gambino?”
Childish Gambino is actor/comedian/writer/sexual athlete/all-around phenom Donald Glover. You may be more familiar with him from his work as Troy on Community or as “the bro rape guy.” However, we now can include rapper to his already long list of accomplishments. With four mixtapes, one album released and a self-titled EP out now, don’t think that he just woke up a month ago and said “What else can I be good at?”
Fun Fact: Childish Gambino was the name given to Donald Glover using this Wu-Tang Name Generator. What’s your Wu name??
JUST ANOTHER CELEBRITY TRYING TO RAP?
It’s easy for anyone to dismiss it at face value and say, “Another celebrity trying to be a rapper? WACK.”
Sure Ron Artest, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Kevin Federline, Spencer Pratt and Buzz Aldrin put the time in to create that stereotype. But that’s too much of a cop out in this case. If Donald Glover had never garnished fame off his Derrick Comedy skits, writing for 30 Rock, etc, he would still be in the same position. He gives a voice to those non-“rap cool” youth that love hip hop. Childish Gambino clearly fits into the recent paradigm shift of Smart/Educated Rap (J. Cole, Wale, etc.) that fans now demand.
What differentiates Gambino from other would-be novelty rap acts is his sincerity. Rocking a mic and performing is natural for him. It is obvious that he has listened to hip hop all of his life and has a love for the art. Music is such an expressive medium, that it allows artists to vent their frustrations, deal with their fears, emotions, etc. And for someone who has gone through a turbulent youth, music allows him to express the stress he feels from that upbringing, and the pressures of fame/stardom in a way that Stand-Up Comedy can’t.
Life goes fast and I’m holding on tight
I let things go when I’m holding this mic
And it’s six in the morn, I’ve been writing all night
If I keep on going, I’m hoping I might be
Untouchable… untouchable… untouchable
Much like how the Freaks and Geeks Music Video starts from far away and gradually gets closer to reveal more of Childish Gambino, his lyrics do the same. He invites listeners into his life and wants you to get to know him personally, and not base your opinion on who you think he is from his other pursuits.
Don’t read this as a defense of his work, because his music alone does that. This is more of a shortened biography for those who are unfamiliar with him. We appreciate the wittiness of his lines and salute Mr. Gambino.
From henceforth, when someone screams out in the middle of the campus quad: “What the fuck is a Childish Gambino?” You can simply reply “Hey hata, what’s hood? Let me dope you.”