The fact that you’re reading this now means you’re somewhat curious about the new album Camp from Childish Gambino. Let me tell you, I wouldn’t consider myself to be a “rap” fan, but I do enjoy “underground” hip-hop. That said, I had no clue what I was in for when a good friend of mine sat me down and asked, “Have you listened to Childish Gambino yet?” I said “No.” Well, I was in for something else.
Ironically, I’d just read about Donald Glover’s Community being put on hold which seemed odd considering the events that would transpire next. Namely, Childish Gambino. When my friend started playing the music video for the track Bonfire, it had my undivided attention, I was excited. I was drawn in by the sirens and backing vocals that open the track, and as soon as the beat hit and Childish began delivering the vocals, I knew that this was going to be something special: something that I’d never heard before. By the time it was over I didn’t really know what to say. I knew I loved what just happened to me, I knew I wanted to hear more. That night I found out Childish Gambino would be on Conan performing and I expected Bonfire to be performed live, but to my surprise it was Heartbeat, which starts out with smooth soothing piano and vocals sung by the man himself. This was very different. When they break into the main beat, I couldn’t help but sit straight up and listen a bit closer. The sound was unexpected and VERY satisfying.
Bonfire and Heartbeat played to my underground hip-hop side. The lyrics were very deep, well written, and meaningful. The beats were unique and still maintained a little mainstream element at the same time. Childish Gambino’s style and delivery are absolutely on point and you will find yourself tuning in with no restraint, which holds true throughout the entire album. I went to iTunes and downloaded the entire thing immediately, having already listened to it a few times through before I left work. There are some very “rap” sounding tracks, some very “poppy” tracks and even some more underground hip-hop sounding tracks with some styles in between. Remember, I’m not really a “rap” fan, but I never felt the need to skip a track. The album is well-rounded, and for those audiophiles out there, its well mixed too. Tracks I suggest you don’t miss are Heartbeat, Bonfire, Fire Fly, Backpackers, and That Power. Do yourself a favor and get your hands on this tasty little treat; dare I say this album may be my, or anyone else’s, widest gateway into the rap scene.