Getting Childish With Gambino: Donald Glover’s New Album Nears Arrival
The Childishness continues. Camp is over but Royalty last forever and His Highness Donald Glover stands ready for a welcomed reign beyond the year “3005”. The soon-to-be ‘ex-Community star’ has embarked on an artistic and entertainment rampage in 2013; setting the stage to capstone the year with release of a new album titled ‘because the internet’.
During a homecoming performance at Penn State, Donald announced the project proclaiming, “I got a new album coming out soon, this is the last time we’re going to be playing a lot of this shit.” The album’s announcement took wings and circulated further around the web after several twitter posts.
The rhapsode’s existential lead single “3005” is built on a lilting chorus and charged, behemoth rap bars. All accompanied by a racy, lyric music video illustrating a striptease IM chat with a young woman. Due for release Tuesday, December 10th 2013, Gambino Girls and Guys can ring in the holidays with new tracks off the actor/rapper/comedian/screenwriter entertainer’s sophomore studio album. The music is only the beginning. Bundled with a screenplay, forthcoming film, and additional media rollouts, Gambino aims to create a branded world in which to experience and discuss his unique vision and creativity.
Some serious anticipation surrounds the project as his debut Camp was entirely self-produced and included no features. This year Glover made many guest musical appearances despite an interview communicating his aversion to unnecessary collaboration and its annoyingly mundane frequency in the music industry. In 2013, The artist has lent his talents to Jhene Aiko’s “Bed Peace”, Young Dro’s “FDB”, Chance The Rapper’s “Favorite Song” among hosts of other audio art pieces with entertainers. All artist in good company who find similarity in their differences and are rumored to appear on Gambino’s album as well.
THE GEN-Y ANGLE
An overt nod to digital natives and members of Generation-Y, the project’s title shows awareness of social media’s viral power. A phenomenon Glover is well aware of given his surprisingly racial Twitter controversy of 2010. Promoted with the hashtag #donald4spiderman, many fans boasted Glover should appear as the first African-American Peter Parker in the 2012 Spiderman cinema reboot. Although the film went on to star Andrew Garfield with Emma Stone, the overwhelming amount of support from fans and character creator Stan Lee acted as a catalyst of inspiration for Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli to debut Miles Morales, the comic book universe’s first black Spiderman. The web-slinging hero, ranked as IGN’s 3rd top hero of all time, revered as capable of being any race, gender, sexuality etc. behind the mask, has been met with both acclaim and criticism on racial and storytelling points.
Whether ‘because the internet’ is indicative of a concept album laden with notions taken from the new millennium’s digital culture remains a mystery. In an age where technology such as the Internet allows artists’ work to be ubiquitous and instantaneous yet somewhat ephemeral and fleeting, the world once regarded as the wild-wild-west of venture and ambition is now an essential base for achieving success particularly in business and entertainment. The same media that brings about a wave of popularity can just as soon clutter and marginalize its user. Audiences and fans alike can rest assured the project will be laced with what this contemporary rhapsode is known for: culturally observant content riddled with self-deprecating, dark-twinge humor and pithy rhymes voicing ego, insecurity, conquest, failure, confusion and revelation.
Several promotional efforts for the album have contributed to its anticipation. The earliest (10/08) includes the freestyle ‘Yaphet Kotto’ and a gif announcing five limited-release shirts with different “creatures” made by Pendleton Ward of adventure time. Following a park listening session in Trinity Bellwoods Park Toronto (10/28) and the album cover’s release (11/07), Gambino made appearances on The Arsenio Hall show, Power 105.1’s The Breakfast Club and podcasts such as The Nerdist. Most recently, a gif and open letter advertising mansion listening parties (11/15) hit the web causing a stir amongst fans:
To whom it may concern,
I’m having a small get together at mansions around the US. I’m going to play the album live with my friends in the living room. I can’t invite everyone, so leave your name, email, phone and zip below. The few people I can invite will be notified by phone so we can let you know the address. Thanks. See you there.
IT’S CHILDISH GAMBINO’S WORLD
Donald Glover and Childish Gambino seamlessly accomplish an entertainment gambit that both embraces and challenges the contradictory stereotypes of being a self-boasting rapper and self-deprecating comedian. With such an increasingly diversified dossier, it seems only right, and a matter of time, he attracts some high-profile stints (i.e. SNL). Clapping for the Wrong Reasons is Glover’s self-produce short film with cameo appearances by several stars including Chance The Rapper and Boy Meets World’s Danielle Fishel. It’s a parallel but departure from past work like Mystery Team (available for free on Hulu), Comedy Central’s comedy special Weirdo, BET’s 2012 rap cypher, and edgy sketches such as bro rape.
The 30 Rock writer’s room alum has even inked a deal to produce and star in an FX half-hour, music-themed comedy pilot named Atlanta. Similar to his choice to leave NBC’s award-winning satirical sitcom and invest full-time in comedic stand-up, the NYU graduate made the call to cut back his character Troy Barnes appearances in Community, only appearing in five of the upcoming season’s thirteen episodes, to accommodate his album development, touring, and assorted writing/development projects. Many fans will miss his bromantic chemistry with Daniel Pudi as one half of Troy & Abed In The Morning.
Fans can only help but wonder how he finds the strength to depart projects in their prime stride of popularity. Perhaps he takes a page from Life Of Pi where the protagonist describes “the whole of life [as] an act of letting go.” Gambino has learned to let go, move on, and conquer.
P.S. Gambino/Glover gifs are THE best… #winning