“Heathen, it’s a struggle just to keep breathing
Existential asthmatic, puff puff pass addict
Craftmatic, making moves but they sleeping on me
We can kick it like it’s FIFA, homie“
Whoa. Slow down, Gambino.
I often think of Childish Gambino whenever I hear Kendrick rap, “Look inside of my soul and you can find gold and maybe get rich“. He is the small lighter and he done burned bridges. The way he spits is.. straight-up weird, yet undeniably powerful. His visceral lyricism is raw and sardonic, delivering harsh and sarcastic criticism to the inauthentic world of imposters that he is tired of living in. Yet he delivers with such casual finesse, as if he is indifferent about the issues he is speaking on. His flow is borderline monotonous yet oddly hypnotic, which somehow adds potency to his incredibly dense bars. Picture an 8-year old kid blowing a spitball at the Great Wall of China. If this kid spitting was Childish Gambino, the Wall would crumble. And he would probably shrug it off. Whatever.
**If you still haven’t heard Childish Gambino’s freestyle on Sway in the Morning, do yourself a favor and give it a listen. It will give you a better idea of what I’m talking about.
In today’s rap scene, Gambino’s lyricism is close to unparalleled. His bars are oozing with clever wordplay and style, as this short excerpt from “Zealots of Stockholm” clearly demonstrates. Each phrase is masterfully crafted and Gambino carefully injects an absurd amount of meaning into every word. Double entendres everywhere. And he raps them with such a “get-on-my-level” fashion, not waiting on anyone to keep up with him.
This is to give you an idea of how difficult it is to listen to Gambino’s work, aside from the fact that his hit album, Because the Internet, is just straight-up disturbing. Gambino has a lot of haters and his reviews has always been mixed. But I see him as a deeply insightful guy who’s often misunderstood because he poses honest questions that no one can answer. He’s tired of being tired of the world. And how can we blame him for it?
“TMJ or TMI, it’s a lie that you’re living
I never understood the hate on a nigga preference
When every marriage is a same sex marriage
Same sex everyday, monotonous
Lost God, never prayed, forgotten us
Lost love, never say just like our parents”
Rap and poetry aren’t the only places where Donald Glover expresses his challenging opinions; over the years, he’s found a variety of different channels to creatively upset our comfortable worldviews, such as television, acting, stand-up comedy, screenwriting, producing, and directing (just to name a few). Also, can we just acknowledge how rare it is for artists to rap, sing, and produce their own music, and do it well?
If it wasn’t clear in the past, it is now that Donald Glover is the Renaissance Man of the modern-day entertainment world. While he showcases an impressive arsenal of distinct skills, perhaps his most formidable weapon is his ability to weave together his seemingly compartmentalized talents into one hauntingly beautiful universe. The deeper we immerse ourselves into his works, the more we see that the many faces, personalities, and characters of Donald Glover are all strangely interconnected in the same dimension in some twisted way.
I’m pretty sure if we fully unlocked the mind of Donald Glover, the earth would implode or something. If this is the observable universe, I really wonder what else lives inside his imagination. I want to explore his brain and see the things that haven’t actualized yet, but maybe the world isn’t ready for that yet. His storytelling has transcended single art forms and perhaps art itself. You don’t have to like him but you’ve got to have some level of respect for him. Because to invent such an intricate, yet massive universe, and then to capture it in the languages of art requires nothing short of genius.
“And anybody can walk into any Denny’s
And wait until I’m walking in it
With a gun that they 3D printed and finish it
Kinison said if you gonna miss heaven…
Why do it by two inches? Old money and new bitches”
Excerpts from “II. Zealots of Stockholm [Free Information]”