Review: Childish Gambino – Camp

[By Kalynda Simmons]

Donald Glover, most commonly known as Troy Barnes on the popular NBC show Community, is  showing us that he can juggle.

Not only does he act, but he raps under the moniker Childish Gambino, a name he got from a Wu-Tang Clan name generator during his college years.

Apparently Childish Gambino is mad.

His new album Camp is a compilation of  stories of his childhood and lessons learned that have contributed to his manhood.   Glover grew up with both parents and lived in a low income neighborhood. During this time, it wasn’t typical for a Black kid to have both parents at home so his peers told him that he simply, wasn’t really Black. His peers and cousins teased him because he didn’t act like the rest of them and they labeled him an outcast and ostracised him because he didn’t do typical things that were expected of him.

Childish Gambino’s newest single “Heartbeat’ is an electronic crescendo of sound masked by simple, light piano chords. On this song Gambino describes a dysfunctional relationship partially based on sexual attachment, and how our minds translate insecurities and complicate our feelings.

On his album, Childish Gambino brings up a good point. What does it really mean to act like a particular race? We depend too heavily on stereotypes to generalize what characteristics a person should have to be considered a “member” of a certain race. Anything we don’t understand we automatically label as weird. The interesting thing is now it’s acceptable to be weird — so acceptable, that being different  is sometimes considered trendy.  We live in a society of different people and weird isn’t so strange anymore. Now, being different is the norm. We  are obsessed with labels and the stigmas about people contradict each other all of the time.

I like that Glover stayed true to himself on Camp. If he didn’t, his music wouldn’t sound the same and his inspiration would have been drawn from elsewhere. Music is about being creative and pushing boundaries. Without his willingness to think outside of the box and express himself without hesitation, he wouldn’t be able to relate to his new fans and muster an album of merging genres.


Check out more reviews on Childish Gambino’s Camp:

Death and Taxes Mag

Pretty Much Amazing