Alright, Gambino is a mastermind

Fuck a bitch to pass the time / Mass appeal, orange rind / Smoke your green I’m spending mine
No lyric better exemplifies the combination of wit and rapping flow of rapper Childish Gambino than the opening lyrics to “Freaks and Geeks,” a single released for free earlier this year. These themes―scoring with women, his broad fanbase, and of course, his excellent wordplay―dominate Childish Gambino’s raps. He’s also one of the few rappers out there that writes, raps, and produces his own work, though sometimes under the pseudonym “mc DJ.”
With the help of producer Ludwig Göransson, he has graduated from producing free singles and mixtapes such as Culdesac, to release his first studio album, Camp, under indie label Glassnote. The label is known for their successful indie rockers including Phoenix and Mumford & Sons, but Gambino is the first major rapper under their umbrella.
Despite his musical success, he’s more commonly known as the actor, comedian, and writer, Donald Glover. When he was 22-years-old and still a resident assistant at an NYU dorm, he was hired as one of the first writers for 30 Rock, he wrote for The Daily Show, and he’s developed a cult following for his work with sketch comedy group Derrick Comedy. Most people, however, will invariably recognize him from his role as Troy Barnes on NBC’s hit comedy series Community.
All talents and distractions considered, Glover remains focused on his budding rap career. In Camp, Gambino raps about the difficulties he faced as a child. From an early age, Glover had trouble fitting in. He was considered “too black” by his white classmates, but at the same time, “too white” by his black classmates. He was also ridiculed for the way he dressed and spoke in the track “You See Me:” “What is he wearing? / Somebody jack that fool’s steeze’ / If I’m a faggot spell it right / I got way more than two Gs.
Many of Glover’s raps share the same in your face attitude. In “Backpackers,” he brings up the 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech and in the final line of his first single, “Bonfire,” he raps, “The shit I’m doin’ this year? Insanity / Made the beat then murdered it, Casey Anthony.
But Gambino’s rhymes aren’t about being offensive. They’re about his growth as an artist. Although he continues to sample rock songs on his tracks, songs like “Heartbeat,” which starts slow before becoming infused with a heavy-sounding House beat, and “L.E.S.,” show that despite the title of his first major mixtape, I Am Just A Rapper, he’s not―the dude can sing too.



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