Passing Opinion Off As Fact Since 2009

Passing Opinion Off As Fact Since 2009

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Even My Favorite Music is on the NBC Thursday Night Line-up: Childish Gambino EP edition

When I was younger, I listened to a lot of rap music. This was de rigueur for a white fellow from the suburbs but that didn’t make me any less, as have continued to be about anything I have liked since then. Over time my interest waned and I was only listening to some choice backpackers like Mos Def. Since his first single I have loved Kanye but I view him as more of a singer-songwriter of sorts than an MC. As a result, Lupe Fiasco had held the title as my favorite rapper of the modern era. With his new album coming out this month, I expected to be an influx of hip hopping, which has definitely been case. BUT I have barely listened to Lasers partly because it is just not good enough and mostly because of another rap release that I love…

Childish Gambino aka Donald Glover on his current EP has proven he much more than a competent rapper, he is actually quite great. He comes across more genuine than about any rapper I have ever heard, wavering between the necessary bravado and a comic’s proclivity for self-deprecating. His lyrics are packed with punch lines that reflect an exceptional understanding of the rhythms of both music and comedy. Quite possibly, what I like so much about Glover’s music s that his references are references that I completely get. Here are a few:

“I’m the boss, Michael Scott, y’all bitches is just Phyllis”

“Steady movin’, don’t worry about where I’mma be

‘Cause I’mma be on these tracks like indie girls on Amelie

Honesty, I’m rappin’ ’bout everything I go through

Everything I’m sayin’ I’m super sayin’ like Goku

“Even though I was rappin’ back when Lance had chemo, ho

Even flow, Pearl Jammin’ niggas can’t leave me alone”

“Let me poke ya, ma, Raichu

“Hard for a pitchfork, soft for a Rockefeller”

“Yeah, we doin’ stupid shit, have stories when I’m older

But I don’t wanna see pictures of us on Vulture

He reads the same blogs I do!!!! Eminem doesn’t read my blogs. I’m pretty sure 50 Cent just doesn’t read.

The EP is filled some slightly satirical tough talk and bragging but it also features a great deal of an honest vulnerability. Glover doesn’t pretend he is from the streetz like many of his contemporaries, instead it seems like he understands the importance of his truth, as he raps:

“Whiskey-sippin’, wanna drink the whole bottle

But these smart middle-class black kids need a role model”

As is the fundamental conflict of his character on Community, Glover tends to waver between being cool and being a nerd. Take the absurd lyric:

“And my dick is too big, there’s a Big Bang Theory”

Glover effectively uses macho vocabulary of rap music to wink at the popular sitcom that beats his handedly in the rating every week in their shared timeslot.

I think it also important to note that his music also succeeds at being what is expected of hip-hop musically. Previously, he used to rap over indie rock songs – effectively endearing him to some choice bloggers - but now his beats are more what is to be expected from today’s more cerebral rappers. He even dips into the omnipresent dance-rap with “Lights Turned On”. A track I imagine could do really well at LA’s Temporary Spaces both on their more East-side and more Hollywood nights.

Considering his good deal of success at such a young age, it is obvious that Glover is an exceptionally hard worker. This leaves me incredibly excited to see where both his acting and music career goes. Maybe, he is destined to do what the character he used to write for recently accomplished, EGOT.

You can download the aforementioned excellent EP for FREE here

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