Let’s get the similarities out of the way: Childish Gambino is a rapper that is more well-known playing a toilet-tissue soft character on television. He also sings his own hooks. Yes, Gambino aka Donald Glover has a lot in common with Drake, and as soon as he blows up, we’ll hear the comparisons ad nauseam. But let’s get the most important commonality out of the way: Childish Gambino knows how to create great songs.
Gambino’s flow is rough around the edges: sometimes he goes into full-on Weezy voice a little too blatantly. He also relies on d*ck punchlines too much. A note to DG, just like in comedy, d*ck punchlines are the easy way out in Hip-Hop. You’re way better than that, as well as the mentions that people called you gay all of the time. I know that there are hundreds of rappers that spit jokes about getting head and having sex, but it just seems out of place and overdone against the backdrop of dope music Gambino is putting out. I think he mentions his nethers like five times on “Freaks and Geeks” alone. In the grand scheme of things, though, these gripes are minor and will probably get worked out as Gambino hones his bars going forward.
For whatever shortcomings Gambino has, he makes up for with an ability to construct fully fleshed-out and brilliant songs. Hooks fall at just the right place and are executed flawlessly throughout his EP. “Lights Turned On” is a smash in waiting and an example of Gambino’s excellent music-making ability. He switches up his style as the beat changes, and leads every verse seamlessly into the hook.
“Not Going Back” is probably the best all-around song on the EP. Even though Gambino goes on a verse-long tangent about the mega-hot Rashida Jones, he totally snaps towards the end with his last few bars. Again, the beauty of the track is the way he matches the instrumental’s mood and turns hot bars into a well-rounded song.
So, is Childish Gambino good? Hell yes. Though he has room for improvement, Gambino’s EP is a stellar effort that has me excited to see what’s coming next. It’ll only be a matter of time before his rap career matches the success of his other endeavors.