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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    ‘Community’ star becomes rap sensation

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    Have you heard of Jason Rodgers? Troy Barnes? Childish Gambino?

    If not, then you wouldn’t know that all three are alter egos of Donald Glover — the mastermind behind the YouTube sensation that is Derrick Comedy, the oblivious football player on NBC’s “Community,” and the indie scene rap thunderstorm that is Childish Gambino.

    Despite the current mindset that’s embodied recent radio rap, Gambino isn’t trying to be hard like T.I., rebrand himself like Drake or beat a dead horse like Weezy — there’s a dark and refined aura about Glover’s music that is composed of social fallacies, racial stigmas and obscenely witty one-liners.

    Above all, it’s Glover’s defined comic sense that sets him apart from the pack. It’s the same brand of intelligent humor that he’s honed doing stand-up and writing for “30 Rock” and “Community,” now placed into rapid-fire context over some truly brilliant beats.

    His self-deprecating nature and raw honesty make him both a target and a genius in the collective eye of mainstream rap, as Glover quickly admonishes the “money, girls and cars” mentality and instead makes himself the center of his writing, often in the least egotistic way possible. His newest release, Camp, is also his major label debut, and is by far the most introspective and controversial of his seven albums, all of which span a shocking three years.

    More akin to his off-kilter image is what Glover brings to the landscape of today’s rap scene — he’s impeccably dressed to the point of hipster acceptance, has an absolutely riveting Tumblr and makes himself more available to his listeners and fans than most artists currently coming up. These factors alone turn him into a forerunner for what can only be a shift toward more conscious, questioning lyrical content in hip-hop from the two-dimensionality that’s plagued it over the past 10 years.

    Camp’s underlying message is Glover’s own cry for a reality check for the genre, and the idea is no clearer than in the down-tempo “All The Shine,” on which he states “I’m not trying to come hard, I’m trying to come me.”

    For a man who embodies the term “triple threat,” an honest face and a lack of facade make him a welcome poster child for a rap revolution.

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