Soon to be featuring in some of our favourite franchises, both Star Wars and Lion King, Donald Glover deserves a moment of appreciation. Whether his humour in the ramshackle duo on Community won you over or his innovative burst onto the rap scene as Childish, there’s do doubt he’s a talented man. Whether you prefer his jazzier tracks with oozy vocals or enjoy the immaculately timed bars when Gambino raps, it’s a personal preference that we’re not going to debate here today. Get in the mood for his prowl as Simba with a trip down memory lane, one excellent track after the other.
#1 IV Sweatpants
The tinkering intro, reminiscent of Jay Z’s sample of It’s A Hard Knock Life, but the beat picks up quick smart and runs off with a life of it’s own. Each rhyme is a moment to be taken aback and scream damn and if you’ve heard it out and about of an evening, you know this to be true. Without an ounce of monotony in sight, Gambino powers through this track without stagnating once. I’m often not in favour of atmos samples, but with careful timing Childish nails the roar of an engine and crowd cries, without sounding kitsch.
If my Top 2 hasn’t indicated which camp of Gambino I’m in, let this be known, I’m all for the heavier stuff. Bonfire is the perfect example, it’s like the savviness of a standup comedian perfectly chopped to fit this split up beat. Because that’s exactly what it is. It’s conversational at times and a source of roaring empowerment at others, a balance not easy to achieve. The choir chants in the background make it even more resounding. Gambino in his purest form.
Etching it’s way into overplayed territory, the verses from 3005, no matter how tricky, have been mangled one too many a time by people in clubs. You know the guy, the one who hypes all arms extended and ever reclining leans. The same gent who tried to make dabbing an everyday activity. No matter it’s corruption by fuck boys, it’s still an excellent track and I won’t be persuaded otherwise.
#4 I. The Worst Guys
Man of the moment Chance The Rapper joins Childish for a track of absolute enchantment. Who knew their voices worked so well together, at points in perfect harmony. It’s a great interim moment for Gambino, between his spitting days to his vocal focused tracks. The reverb is turned right up and it works to make the song feel like it’s surrounding you. Chance and Childish, a pair we want to see reunited, sooner rather than later.
It’s a jazz affair from the get go and a new foray for Gambino, a sign of things to come in his newest album. Artful layered and masterful restraint that croons and wavers as you listen. It’s a beat that rocks you back and forth, before the chorus holds you tight. Swaying compulsory.
Image source: Saint Theron.