Honestly, I’ve fallen for the sights and sounds of Childish Gambino aka The Boy aka mcDJ aka Bambino X aka Donald Glover. I’m not going to lie when he came out with “3005” off of Because of the Internet (2013), which I am well aware was not his first single or album, I was not impressed. It just didn’t do anything for me and I was not interested in investigating more. But in early December 2014 I watched his stand up Weirdo (2010) on Netflix, and I was hooked. He. Is. Too. Funny.
So I had to give him a second chance and do my research, something of which I have not done for any actor or musical artist in a long time because, again, no one has had me intrigued for a while. Low and behold I found almost everything: 30 Rock, which he was a writer for while attending NYU from 2006-2009; Community, where he played ‘Troy’ for 5 out of their 6 seasons; his 24 minute screenplay, Clapping for the Wrong Reasons; his screenplay that goes along with the Because the Internet album; his 3 minute screenplay, Chicken and Futility; the music video that he directed for his good friend, Jhene Aiko, and her song “The Pressure”; his old MySpace page; numerous mixtapes and free styling clips (my fav is the one with Rosenberg). I have yet to watch his early sketch comedies with his group, Derrick Comedy, or watch Mystery Team (2009), but best believe I will find and watch them.
Freestyle with Rosenberg on Hot97
Now don’t get it twisted, I am not obsessed. I have sincere appreciation for a person who identifies and defines himself as a ‘creative’. Glover always trumps our expectation and I realize what he puts out often has a theme and an added message. I personally like the fact that I can hear and see the evolution of Gambino as a man and as a creative, and I’m at the point of being excited to see the new things that he has in store for the future. His most recent mixtape/album, STN MTN/Kuai, dropped in 2014 and I have had it on repeat for quite some time. It’s a different sound then his earlier work like I Am Just a Rapper (2010) or Camp (2011), but again I see him coming into himself as a performer.
“Sober” – from STN MTN/Kuai
For Glover as an actor, his plan seems to be the same: to keep trying new avenues and experiment with his talent. In late 2014, it was announced that the FX Network picked up a pilot for a new comedy series that he is writing and staring in, entitled Atlanta, which is about two cousins struggling in the city of Atlanta while trying to move up the chain in the Rap world. Glover’s latest film is a thriller movie, Lazarus Effect (2015), and it just came into theaters last weekend. He will also play the role of a stripper in Magic Mike XXL (2015) which drops later this year. Also, there continue to be murmurs about him potentially serving as the next Spider Man, which initially started as a result of a comment he made via twitter and his fans went so far as to start a campaign and create a hash tag: #DonaldforSpiderMan. I support it.
Childish is historically known for being vocal via social media and engaging with his fans. But since late 2014, all of his social media sites have been blacked out. Some whisper it is his way of demonstrating support for the injustices that occurred for the families of Mike Brown and Eric Gardner. Others wonder if this is related to Gambino posting pictures of napkins with his handwritten thoughts and feelings that apparently seemed to demonstrate feelings of depression and lead people to believe that he was suicidal or needed to be on meds. All I know is, people need to leave this man to work on his gifts. Yes, gifts. Plural.
Interview on the Today Show
This interview is just a snippet into Glover. I respect the reason he provided about going quiet on social media. Most people, not just celebrities, don’t seem to understand that what goes into the internet-o-sphere will be there forever and it is clear that he would prefer that his work, or his life, mean something. Also, people just expel too damn much online and what might seem like self expression sometimes turns into raw exposure. Just sharing too much. A lot of which is nonsensical, useless information that has no foundation or purpose. Some of these ideas or themes are actually often reflected in his screenplays and music. Eg: Roscoes Wetsuit. Look it up. To me, this constant over sharing via social media just means a higher chance of what is shared will be misinterpreted, misused, and criticized by those who consume it. And let us not forget the fact that the internet is just NOT real life, but I digress. Glover also mentions in this interview that for him creating music is just a period within his art history and that it’s something that “should come to a close” for this reason only: he likes endings.
All I can say is endings only come with new beginnings, folks. Who knows what’s in store for Mr Donald Glover but I definitely can not wait to see and/or experience it.
And as for my statement earlier about not being obsessed…. I might have to re-evaluate my answer.
Talk to Me. Hotep.
[Like what you hear? Support the artist! Buy Childish Gambino’s music on iTunes]