Childish Gambino – Bonfire
CAMP is Donald Glover/Childish Gambino’s first commercial release following several free-to-download productions including the mixtapes I Am Just A Rapper 1 and 2 as well as 2010’s Culdesac album. Glover’s career as an actor and writer for popular television series Community and 30Rock sparked interest among indie circles about this multi-talented rapper who spat lyrics about being a role model for middle class black kids and making “white” rap.
It’s obvious from opener ‘Outside’ that CAMP is going to go heavy on production, perhaps feeling the pressure to produce an album worthy of a price tag after gaining a significant following from his free releases. After only a few listens the album still needs to grow on me but initial impressions suggest the attempt to make a ‘big’ album hasn’t really paid off with a few epic choruses bordering on cringeworthy. He still triumphs when he sticks to his tried and tested aggressive flow on tracks like ‘Backpackers’, ‘You See Me’ and the brilliant ‘Bonfire’ which calls to mind his anthemic gem ‘Freaks & Geeks‘.
“I rap about my dick and talk about what girls is fly, I know it’s dumb, that’s the fucking reason I’m doing it” he asserts on ‘All the Shine’. Well whatever the reason/justification for it, the fact remains; the same lyrical content (having sex, being written off, being an actor and rapper, changing ‘the game’) which came across as witty and clever in early releases have grown tiresome.
Perhaps the LP’s finest moment comes in one of Glovers’ moments of modesty. One of the album’s highlights ‘That Power’ concludes in a story which confirms Glover’s knack for writing/storytelling, an eloquently told four and a half minute tale about the bus home from summer camp. While it’s likely to be skipped after one or two listens much the same as Chris Rock’s episode at the end of Kanye’s ‘Blame Game’, it’s poignancy cannot be denied. Check it out here.
Awesome video for Bonfire too…