When he’s not rapping as Childish Gambino, Donald Glover is a comedian and actor, best known for playing the not-so-bright former football star Troy on Community. His sharp sense of humor shows in his past three albums and two mixtapes, which are all available online for free.
Camp, his first commercial release, might be his best so far. His style is often compared to Kanye West and Lil’ Wayne – comparisons that definitely make sense – but Childish Gambino is more than capable of succeeding in his own right. This album moves between thundering and confident, quiet and heartfelt, and smart but self-depreciating. “Letter Home” opens with Glover singing, “You’re the only girl I’ve ever wanted / Every other girl is trying to be you,” but on bonfire he’s snarling “Kiss my ass, human centipede.” The whole record is thick with references like that, but it doesn’t feel like a desperate attempt at being clever or culturally relevant. It just is clever and relevant.
Give it a listen at NPR.org and hear why this is the first Childish Gambino album with a price tag. It’s so worth it.