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Childish Gambino
FILTER Grade: 71%

By Dom Sinacola on November 23, 2011


Childish Gambino

On the handclap-drowned “Hold You Down” (you better really like handclaps, shit abounds throughout CampDonald Glover’s debut full-length as Childish Gambino), the actor/MC/producer asserts his Renaissance Man intentions: “I won’t stop until they say James Franco is the white Donald Glover.” This he says exactly as Kanye would. Later, Glover adopts Lil Wayne’s impish flow, blurting, “You can fucking kiss my ass / Human centipede.” The similarity’s downright plagiaristic. Elsewhere, tracks bear more Yeezy drawl (“Sunrise”; Daft Punk scuzz on “Heartbeat”), or bare Tyler nose-thumbing (“Backpackers”), or Drake’s doctored swoon (the saccharine “Kids (Keep Up)”; “L.E.S.”). It’s somewhere between impressive and impressionistic how Glover inhabits each style, but pit between street chaff and crooner cheese, between respect and restless imitation, one can’t help but wonder where all of Glover’s talent is headed. “I’m stealing Roc’ back,” he replies, citing Jay-Z and West again, and he probably means it. Literally.


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