I'll never fully understand the constant criticism that swirls around entertainment polymath Donald Glover's Childish Gambino project. Does he frequently trade in corny punchline rap? Unquestionably, but so does human-joke-machine 2 Chainz and he's widely lauded for it. If it's a matter of authenticity, Rick Ross' impressive rise to rap royalty rode on the coattails of a grandiosely fictionalized gangster persona. Even complaining that Gambino cycles through other rappers styles widely misses the mark. Rap was built on re-appropriating what's come before you and sampling depends on the very same. Though it’s worth mentioning, much of this is a moot point. Gambino just happens to rub some rap fans the wrong way and there’s little to be done about it.
Childish Gambino seems to realize that on the recently leaked “The Worst Guys” and he’s better off for the realization. He sounds relaxed here, shuffling in-and-out of a goofy Schoolboy Q snarl over a wonky carnival synth sound. He brags about sitting courtside not for a Lakers game, but to see the Clips. A wonderfully nuanced joke and confirmation that at least for now the Clippers are no longer playing second banana in the Staples Center. The bass knocks lend Gambino extra heft, though they're temporarily traded for bright xylophone strikes. Similarly, what begins as a chest-puffing sex-story concerning a threesome warps into a painful admission of not "getting it up" and being "awkward as f***". Just when you thought he'd run wild, he pulls in the reins. A guest appearance from Chance the Rapper is surprisingly restrained as well. The Chicago spitballer is perfectly content to hiccup the simple chorus of "all she needed was some". In short, Gambino simplifies everything here and if you still don't understand it, it's no longer his problem.
Listen to the new track here and look for Gambino's album Because the Internet to drop next week via Glassnote.