Marcus Reviews Childish Gambino’s Camp

7 Nov

Outside: Accompanied by an epic beat and a choir, Childish Gambino opens Camp with a bang as he raps about the struggles that he and his family went through before he made it big. He reveals some things about his past that you’d never guess just by looking at him and it really helps the listener feel closer to Donald. Great way to start the album. (5/5)

Fire Fly: I immediately thought of Kanye’s Graduation album when I heard the beat on this song. Another come up song but from a lighter more optimistic perspective. Basically talking about how people used to sleep on him because of his appearance and his nerd/hipster sensibilities but now they realize he’s the real deal. Fun little tack that’ll put you in a good mood. (4/5)

Bonfire: Most of you have already heard this so I don’t have to tell you about it. I have yet to get tired of this song though. There are a few corny punchlines but lines like “Made the beat and murdered it/Casey Anthony” more than make up for those. This song is lethal and it never fails to get me hyped up. I really need to see him perform this live. (4.5/5)

All The Shine: The beat on this song kind of reminds me of “Clocks” by Coldplay but that’s neither here or there lol. Gambino gets introspective on us again as he gives us a bit more insight on who he is as a person and the life he’s striving for. He reiterates certain subjects or experiences that he’s talked about before but in a deeper and more in depth way on this track so you excuse it. I used to not be too high on this song for some reason but it’s really grown on me. Yet another great track from Gambino. (5/5)

Letter Home: Basically an interlude after All The Shine that also does a good job of segwaying to the next track. Gambino sings about a girl who’s “all he ever wanted”. It’s a bit too short to really be considered a stand alone track so I won’t even bother to rate this one.

Heartbeat: This song feels like a mix of a song from 808s & Heartbreak and a Justice album. On this song Gambino raps about how he and his ex can’t seem to let each other go even after their relationship is dead and how them having sex after the break up has only further complicated things. I’m sure most of us have had an ex that still had a hold on you after you two were “over” so this song I’m sure will resonate with a lot of people. It’s got raw and honest emotion while still coming off as an accessible pop record. You can listen to it introspectively or at a party. It’s quite genius. Possibly my favorite track on the album and one of my favorite songs all year. (5/5)

Backpackers: Everything about this song is just straight FILTHY! From the beat to the way CG slows down his flow a bit so people can really process everything he’s saying. Gambino’s had his fair share of haters and naysayers over the years and he addresses them with unapologetic and hard hitting lyrics while also throwing a little self deprecating comedy in there. So many clever punchlines in this song one of my favorites being “Change my ID for cops, it’s not enough yet/Black male in short shorts, I’m double suspect”. I love this track. (5/5)

L.E.S.: CG raps about a short but fun fling with a hipster chick that he met in NY on L.E.S. and throws some jabs at hipster culture here and there throughout. Alot of clever wordplay on this one along a dope laid back flow from Gambino. Nothing negative to say about this one but I’m not jumping out of my seat about it either, just a chill little song. (4/5)

Hold You Down: Gambino silences the people that say he’s nothing but a punchline rapper as he gives us a somewhat satirical social commentary on Blacks in society on this track. He brings up some very valid points and addresses several stereotypes that are widely associated with African Americans as a people. In the midst of all of this CG speaks on his hopes of making it okay for black kids to be okay with just being okay with themselves. Very positive song that I don’t think anyone expected to hear from him. (5/5)

Kids: I’m not sure if the ladies’ll like this one lol jk. On Kids, CG talks about females and some of the foul shit that they do. For the most part he’s talking about girls that suddenly noticed him when he got some fame but there are some shots thrown in all directions here. It’s a brutally honest song that doesn’t have to use derogatory terms for females to get its point across. If I’m being honest though it’s probably the weakest song on the album, then again on an album full of great music that’s not really a negative statement. (3.5/5)

You See Me: I guarantee that you’re gonna end up hearing people blasting the SHIT out of this song in their cars once the masses hear this one. This song has one of the illest beats that I’ve heard all year, it’s literally impossible for me to listen this without nodding my head super hard. Lyrically this song is in the same vein as Bonfire, just a pure exercise in CG’s prowess in the punchline game. It’s overall a fun ass listen that’s just short enough to make you wanna keep repeating it. (4.5/5)

Sunrise: More of CG slinging bravado all over the place on this high energy track that could also pass as a Graduation leftover. Also just like Fire Fly it’s a solid track but it’s nothing overly spectacular and could easily get lost in the shuffle compared to the greatness of some of the other tracks (thought that 5 Mikes/mics line is clever as hell). Feels a bit like a filler track but it’s in no way bad. (3.5/5)

That Power: This almost feels like something that’d be on MBDTF. In the cinematic album closer CG basically drops some lyrical bombs that alot of people’ll have to go on Rap Genius to decipher and leads to Donald telling us a heartfelt story about an experience he had on the bus back from summer camp when he was a kid that had a vast impact who he is today, why his music is so revealing and the reason why he named the album Camp. It’s brilliant, eyeopening and the perfect way to close the album. May be one of the best album closers that I’ve ever heard. (5/5)

Camp is a brilliant album, not a perfect one, but a brilliant one nonetheless. You can tell that he actually sat down and took his time with crafting this album and making it the best that he could make it. There is never a moment during this album that I felt like he was holding back or not displaying the message that he intended to. Everything has been carefully and meticulously planned out. Once again, it’s brilliant. Gambino is a rapper that benefits from the fact that he’s a comedian and a script writer as well. His punchlines and the way that he presents them are a clear example of that. For every eye roll worthy line that he may spit, there’s about 3 more that make you do a double take. Throw in the fact that he’s unapologetically controversial and candid with his emotions/experiences, co-produced the albums ecclectic variety of beats, and is a pretty good singer and you’ve got yourself an artist that has limitless amounts of potential if used correctly. The biggest gripe that I have with this album is the fact that Glover has a habit of reiterating the same points ad nauseum at times. Whether it’s him being called a faggot in school, not being black enough, etc, he’s always seems to bring it up in a different way on almost every song which brings into concern his range as a rapper. There’ll come a time when he can’t rap about his past or the come up anymore and it makes you wonder what he’ll rap about after that. Also this albums earns every letter in it’s Explicit Content warning, anyone who tries to get the censored version is gonna be in for A LOT of blank spots lol. But aside from those little things I’m absolutely in love with this album and I really feel like if he stays serious about music and continues to grow as an artist and stays true to himself then Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino could very well be a superstar. Only time will tell.

Lyrics: 4.5/5

Production: 5/5

Replay Value: 5/5

Overall: 4.75/5

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