Monday, December 3, 2012

I'll Always Be Childish, Call Me Maggie Simpson

This response was too long to be a comment so I’ve adjusted it a little. Peter’s post about Kendrick Lamar inspired me to look at rap artists that I admire. I wanted to write about Childish Gambino or Donald Glover if you will. Honestly, he’s not a very good rapper but his lyrics really struck a nerve for me. Don’t get me wrong, he writes about bitches and hoes and his own penis very frequently but he also raps about so much more than that. He has worked so hard to achieve the status he has now. He attended NYU’s School of the Arts, performed in a sketch comedy group named Derrick Comedy, wrote for 30 Rock starring Tina Fey, and stars in NBC’s hit show Community. On top of all of that, he has released 5 albums and many mixtapes in the past 4 years. What impresses me most about his rapping is that he addresses many of the biases and prejudices that young rappers receive from their peers. In his song “Fuck It All” he says I used to be a sweet dude, now Im so angry, look at what these girls and these fake niggas made me.” In context he’s talking about the HipHop culture and what it does to people. Earlier in the song he says “Cry when I'm writing, I don't really know why, I think its cause I can't really see myself an old guy, And that scares me, I wanna be around a while, But I feel my purpose goes beyond having raised a child, Bright lights, they tend to burn out fast, So I shine bright, But I'm scared that it won't last.” This reminded me of the video we watched in class today that said black men between the ages of 15-25 are more likely to die of a homicide than anything else. I respect Childish Gambino because he’s honest; he never owned a gun, he wasn’t part of a gang, and everyone said he was too “white” to make it as a rapper. But they’re wrong, he’ll be famous because he’s different; he’s worked hard and made an honest living. We need hiphop role models that are willing to change the perception of the music. While I don’t believe Childish Gambino is that role model, I appreciate that he is willing to acknowledge his fortunate up-bringing and the backlash he experienced from the hiphop community for not being “black enough” (whatever that means). Now if only he would stop talking about lady-folk in such a derogatory manner….

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