BY JEREMY HAAS
Childish Gambino is a 28 year old, American rapper better known by his birth name, Donald Glover. He initially gained popularity through his sketch comedy group, DerrickComedy. He is more currently recognized for his acting in the NBC show Community. Glover started his rap project in 2008, with the release of his debut album Sick Boi. Though he is seen as a comedian, Glover takes his rap work very seriously. Camp is his fourth album, but it’s the first one released as physical CD, rather than strictly for download. The new CD incorporates a few major themes within its lyrics; including self-awareness, overcoming judgment, and the typical confident-rap persona.
One of Camp’s most prevalent topics is self-awareness. The first track, entitled “Outside” is a profound hip-hop ballad, explaining Glover’s past and his personal issues. The track is, in a way, a confession, telling who Childish Gambino is, how he came to be, and what he struggles with. “Letter Home” is another deep, hip-hop creation. Much shorter than the other songs on the album, it is a touching track that lends a mature side to Camp.
The album also shows a general theme of overcoming judgment, weaving at least a little of the topic within each song. Throughout Camp, Childish Gambino addresses his “haters,” defends his music, and proves his worth as a rapper. A song like “Fire Fly” features recollections of Glover’s development as rapper and the conclusions people who encountered him on the way up made.
“Bonfire” which is the album’s first single, is a much angrier track, in which Childish Gambino uses wit, aggressive rapping, and an abundance of curse words to get back at everybody who doubts him as an artist.
On top of that, Glover uses various characters and alter egos throughout Camp. Tracks are scattered throughout the album which feature different personas including a fun loving, super arrogant, testosterone-filled gangster type. Tracks like “LES” and “You See Me” are party anthems, showing him playing the role of stereotypical rapper. They use drug references, crude language, and all of the other things that can grant a rapper the title of “bad role model.”
Glover proves to be multi-talented throughout this CD and his sound is original while still keeping up with a lot of the rap we know and love today.