Day 258: Childish Gambino – Camp

13 Nov

Fire Fly

If there are any fans of the formerly-hilarious-but-now-just-kind-of-bad-but-with-a-good-episode-every-now-and-then-so-I-feel-obligated-to-continue-watching Community on NBC, you know that Donald Glover is one funny dude.  A former writer for The Daily Show and 30 Rock, I was expecting a whole lot of funny on Camp, his first studio hip-hop record.  Instead, while there are funny rhymes worked in every now and then, I got something better.

Camp is a surprisingly insightful work about a misfit who ended up making it big.  A bunch of Glover’s raps revolve around his outcast status as a kid, and how it still sticks with him today. While this could be seen as just another rich and successful dude finding a bunch of stuff to complain about (Kanye), I’m looking at it a bit differently.  Perhaps it’s because I’m intrigued by the roles that race—Glover’s topic of choice—plays in society today, but there’s plenty of stuff worth mulling over to be found in this record.

Raised in the predominantly white Stone Mountain, Georgia (30 Rock fans should recognize that town), it’s clear that Glover’s music wouldn’t be the same if it weren’t for his search for an identity—a search that appears to continue even today. Never “black enough” to fit in with the black kids, and never fully accepted by the white kids, Glover’s got raps on raps about a childhood filled with chants of “oreo” and much worse.  While he’s usually able to turn these around by pointing out that he’s doing fine now, it’s clear that Glover has a whole lot of deep-seated anger, frustration, and confusion that won’t be leaving him anytime soon.

I’m glad that Glover uses rap as an outlet; he’s got some good stories to tell.  They’re not all about race, either—plenty of these songs are about life and its tendency to suck.  Fortunately, Glover is not above turning that into a pun. His sense of humor is still there, it’s just much less prominent than when he’s on TV.

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One Response to “Day 258: Childish Gambino – Camp”

  1. Yuanny Dollar November 15, 2011 at 1:56 am #

    Lupe Jr. Without the flow. Wow. A Sufjan reference. Deep. Blah.

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