For me, good hip hop has always existed at the intersection between genuine satire and a genuine commitment to the genre’s form and tropes. Donald Glover’s project, Childhood Gambino, seems to fall squarely and securely at that intersection. So squarely at that intersection in fact that it is almost impossible to tell which side he stands on.
But music first, right? Can Childish Gambino rap? Yes! Very well in fact. His flow is quick, aggressive and occasionally deadly stylish. And the beats? Not dazzling. Instead, they are mediocre and uninspired and if the lyrics weren’t so incredibly engrossing the beats would pull Childish Gambino into the deepest pits of mediocrity.