A few weeks ago, Twon Johnson tried to hip me to this cat Childish Gambino. I'd heard the name before but brushed him off as some random new flavor of the month. One Mic also put a bug in my ear, but I'd learned that he was the black kid from those corny (yet hilarious) YouTube videos like "Bro Rape" and the movie "Mystery Team." I mean, there was NO way that THIS guy could be a serious contender in the rap world, no way that THIS guy was the one raising all of the buzz...and yet, here he was, two of my most serious hip-hop associates swearing by this guy.
One the strength of their word alone, I copped Camp by Childish Gambino, expecting to be disappointed. However, at $7.99, it wasn't much to lose, so why not? I downloaded the album and instantly forgot about it, focusing more on undun by The Roots and The Dreamer, The Believer by Common, the former an instant classic, the latter an amazing piece of work. With those new albums in full iPod/iTunes rotation, who had time for crock like Childish Gambino?
Fast forward two weeks later. I'm sitting with some peeps and my boy Nikko randomly asks if I'd ever heard of C.G., to which I responded with a lazy "yea...what of him?" Nikko goes on to spit the praises of this guy, which peaked my curiosity. To give you a little backstory, Nikko is from Memphis, the home of Gangsta Boo, Lil Wyte and Three 6 Mafia, none of whom I am an avid fan of. However, Nikko is like a younger me and his taste in music can be trusted. He read the surprise in my face and said "Nifty, you need to check out "Freaks and Geeks" and "Bonfire."
Remembering that I had downloaded Camp, I put "Bonfire" on blast at the table and let it rock. Three minutes and thirteen seconds later, I was falling out of my chair. Who the hell was this guy?! Where were these punchlines coming from?! Where was this realistic angst, skill, fervor, tenacity and lyrical cannibalism coming from?!
"I sound weird like "nigger" with a hard 'R'..."
He's definitely real, and unafraid to push envelopes.
"move white girls like there's coke up my asscrack..."
He's able to speak on the streets while also boasting that he's not from there.
"eating Oreo's like these white girls that blow me..."
He's got punchlines for DAYS!
It's obvious that C.G. isn't afraid to stoke a few flames, coming with the braggadocious nature that is expected of rappers, but also revealing his heart and racially inept background, something that many new artists tend to stay away from. I'm hooked for a number of reasons: he DEFINITELY has skills, his persona is fire, he is able to skillfully sew together a variety of topics with ease and he spits lines like "made the beat and murdered it: Casey Anthony."
This has been a great month for hip-hop...