Over here on British sands, Childish Gambino isn’t known for being an actor or comedy writer, he’s barely known as a rapper or singer at that. What that means, is unlike our transatlantic cousins, we can appreciate Gambino has a new and exciting artist, he had the difficulty of trying to establish himself as a serious musician in the US, due to helping write comedy 30 Rock, as well as having a role in NBC comedy, Community. In simple terms, it would be like Jack Whitehall or Russell Howard becoming a rapper and singer.
That aside, Camp is an excellent album, Gambino, real name Donald Glover, is a great rapper and also possesses a surprisingly refreshing singing voice. The album covers a wide variety of themes and issues for Glover from living in ‘the projects’ (council houses here in England) to first loves, to falling out with family members over fame. It’s a potent arrangement of songs and one of the most personal albums I’ve heard in a long time.
Camp is one of the few albums I can enjoy from start to finish, emotive songs brimmed with passion such as opening track Outside are complimented with heavy piano chords and drums that explode out of nowhere to accompany Gambino’s lyrics: ‘Workin’ two jobs so I can get into that white school, And I hate it there, They all make fun of my clothes and wanna touch my hair’. Hold You Down and Kids shed light on Gambino’s singing ability that really is brilliant, up there with other pioneers of the genre such as Frank Ocean.
The most popular and well known song on the album is probably Heartbeat, with echoes of dubstep and drum and bass genres, it again shows Gambino’s versatility and ability to incorporate a wide variety of inspirations into a piece of work.
Camp is a massively underrated album that seems to have slipped under the radar of the mainstream, having released his sophomore effort Because The Internet towards the end of 2013, Childish Gambino will continue to rise in popularity. Camp is the perfect combination of his talents and greatly executed with some cleverly devised beats.