BY DEREK JUNTUNEN, Guest Writer
The first major studio album from Childish Gambino, the rap moniker of comedian/actor Donald Glover, Camp is a wonder to behold, and nothing short of a must-buy.
The thirteen-track rap album, which comes out November 15th, begins like a few others that have dropped this year, with the wide-eyed, choir-backed “Outside.” It has a very similar feel to the opener of Kanye West’s widely acclaimed My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, with its contemplative, reverent atmosphere, creating anticipation for things to come. It’s definitely not a traditional banging number meant to get the club going.
Glover makes it clear that Camp has a purpose and message. This album is his life story. As the closer, “That Power” summarizes in a heart-achingly honest monologue, he writes these songs as a way to tell things to everyone, since news travels fast, and secrets are bound to spread to the masses in time anyway. How many rap artists this year would have the audacity to close their hyped album with an emotional monologue?
Glover is an open book. He loves Asian women, “white” indie music, and wearing short shorts. Throughout the album, he ruminates about being a suburban black kid growing up in contrast to people like his cousin, who remained in the city. He wonders whether that makes him any less “black,” and whether that matters.
As Childish Gambino, Glover can swing from self-deprecating and self-doubting before turning around a verse later and becoming the most confident man in the room. Who doesn’t sway from between such extremes at times, though? It doesn’t make him a hypocrite to claim both sides, because people are complex bundles of contradictions, and Glover is no exception. As Kanye said, “We all self conscious / I’m just the first to admit it.”