Childish Gambino - EP

Album cover
Hip-hop, Rap
Self-released
Childish Gambino
EP
Childish Gambino - EP Review rating:
4
User rating:
Average: 4.7 (3 votes)

If you know the man behind the name Donald Glover, then you’ve probably heard of him through his acting work on the popular primetime show Community or his comedy troupe Derrick Comedy. What you may not have known (like myself until earlier this year) is that Glover also raps under the name of Childish Gambino. My curiosity may not have been sparked due to one of his tracks being used in the trailer for Derrick Comedy’s full-length film Mystery Team (check it out), but your curiosity should be peaked by the next sentence you are about to read. Glover’s newest EP proves he takes his rapping just as seriously as his acting, and proves it with five tracks of witty lyricism and playful honesty. The only question you’ll have left is whether or not his rapping or acting will send him to the top first.

Gambino is a mastermind. It is the opening line of the absolutely stellar cut “Freaks and Geeks”, a track ripe with scything, witty lyricism and an undeniable beat to boot. His flow here is practically unwavering as he cuts down haters and lovers alike. Think Drake or maybe even a more focused, yet young at heart Lil’ Wayne. If you aren’t bobbing your head to the beat, you’re laughing at his pinpoint lyrics (‘I’m running this bitch, you are just a dog walker’) that point the finger at everyone – including himself. His usual mid-tempo beats often provide a graspable background regardless what he seems to be rapping about, as “Freaks and Geeks” knocks it out of the park with a catchy melody and simple drum beat. Opener “Be Alone” is a solemn track that provides a slightly different feel to Gambino’s biting words, while
“My Shine” teeters a similar line while going after all of the people who have seemingly doubted him with the musical side of his talent. “Lights Turned On” is the standout musically, as it moves a little quicker with a thumping beat and smooth melodies that make it feel like a track you’d more than likely find yourself dancing to on a weekend at the club. It stands out in a similar fashion to “Freaks and Geeks” in that the other three tracks have a similar mood of spite tinged with optimism about them while those two pull more towards the upbeat melodies woven inside of them. And while lyrically he is still pretty much on point on “Lights Turned On”, the quicker tempo doesn’t allow for the same feel as the other tracks. Closer “Not Going Back” focuses on a moving piano line that gives Glover a culminating track in both sound and realization of the lyrical message of the entire EP – give the man the respect he deserves or get out of the way.

If you’re like me, you’re probably just getting on the Gambino boat with the promise of impressive beats backing witty, venomous, yet self-realizing lyrics. Glover’s EP hits in all the right places at just the right time, and if you’re looking for something with a bit more heart, Childish Gambino is just what you need.

1. Be Alone
2. Freaks and Geeks
3. My Shine
4. Lights Turned On
5. Not Going Back

Donald Glover is best known for his work on the NBC show Community alongside Joel McHale and Chevy Chase. Glover has also been a writer for the NBC series 30 Rock and is part of the comedy sketch group Derrick Comedy. He graduated from New York University with a degree in Dramatic Writing in 2006. He was nominated for the Writers Guild of America Award award for Best Comedy Series at the February 2009 ceremony for his work on the third season of 30 Rock.

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Batman
Batman says... "Taking Back Sunday composes their music first, then the lyrics."

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