Childish Gambino – Camp Album Review

I’ve heard  a few of this dude’s tracks here and there, most were decent but I saw potential. Let’s see how he fares on his debut album, Camp.

Outside

The start of the album starts with some beautiful harmonizing followed by a grand beat. You can feel the energy of this track from the beginning, knowing it will be something epic. Childish Gambino (CG) tells his story of his life. Yes, he’s an actor and famous but he struggled just like everyone. What a way to start out the album. This is a great track where CG puts himself in the listener’s face where you are able to visualize the stories he’s telling.

“It’s weird, you’d think that they’d be proud of em but when you leave the hood, they think that you look down on em, the truth is we still struggle on a different plane, 7$ a hour, WIC vouchers, it’s all the same….”

Fire Fly
This is good joint to ride to as CG talks about how he’s gets all this attention now when back then, it was a different. He’s reminds me alot of XV in this track. The flow, the song type, etc.  I really like the beat for some reason. I got a slow head bob going on over here. Nonetheless, this track has some nice verses.

Bonfire
I was almost turned off when I heard the played out snare pattern but that “ooooh” melody got the song back on track, it’s nice. CG is putting all the critic’s comments in a pile and burning them, Bonfire. The flow is there, filled with metaphors this track seemed to be made to say “I’m the sh^t, smell me?”

All The Shine
The epic feel returns with this one, the beat is impressive as well as the chorus (sounds like some late 80s New Edition ish). Both overshadow the verses and the verses were good! The strings in it, smh, it sounds like a live symphony.

“No matter how far the hoods seems / we all still got hood dreams”

“Whats the point of rapping if you cant be yourself”

Letter Home
The strings are continued from the previous track. CG starts singing about a chick he wanted. The singing isn’t half bad . This is more of an interlude.

Heartbeat
The rock influenced beat may turn some off from the start but the verses entails some crazy relationship issues this guy has had. So far the choruses on this album have all been great. I could see this being a single but it’s kind of a sad song but also relatable.

Backpackers

The production is simple but nice. It would be a nice beat to freestyle to for sure. CG continues the theme of being the outcast no matter what the situation is. In this case, it is the so called “cool kids of rap” the backpackers who hate on him. Pretty good track.

“I’m a problem, I’m lame as f**k homey, but I rap like these ni**as aint got sh*t on me”

L.E.S
On this track he is speaking on women and relationships but part of the time you will feel that he is talking directly to the woman he is in a relationship with and other times he’s just letting his thoughts out about the overall situation. I like how he did this and the soundscape he chose to do it on fits just nicely.  This is an interesting track that may take a few listens to fully appreciate.

Hold You Down

For some reason, the melody reminds me of Kanye West’s “Heartless”. The potential of CG can be witnessed here, he lays his feelings all on the beat where some lines will leaving saying “Damn, that’s rough”. Speaking on his experiences of not being fully accepted by the black community and also racism today. Overall a great personal track with a lot of substance.

“My fear is dead, ambition drove the hearse”

Kids (Keep Up)
Another substance-filled track where CG talks about the complexity of dealing with women these days. He doesn’t really trust them and is fed up  it seems. He also tells why he likes Asian girls because “black and white girls come with a set of politics.” lol. This is a good track with a interesting angle on today’s woman.

You See Me
The flow of the album is interrupted with this track. I’m not feeling it, sounds like a throwaway. The ego displayed here you would think this was a lost Watch The Throne track. It just doesn’t fit on this album.

Sunrise
While I like the beat, I’m not really feeling the song. Its meant to be some type of anthem or “church for the black nerds”.  I can see why some people may like it but it’s not my cup of tea.

That Power
The first half is a song about how he’s seeing through the haters. The verses are ok, not as potent like on other tracks but the message is still there.

“How many gold plaques you want inside your dining room?
I said I want a full house, they said, “You got it dude!”

The second half of the song is him telling a story, not rapping a story, telling one. It’s about him as a little boy on the bus with this girl coming from Camp. He lets his feelings out to the girl and ended up getting burned. He realized that he is still that innocent, vulnerable boy that is on that bus. Some deep stuff for sure. I like how he ended it. The story is the standout on this track.

Conclusion
This album was better than I thought. Camp is a pretty good album from Childish Gambino. Most of the songs have some type of substance in them that shows who Donald Glover really is. Standouts like Outside and Hold You Down really show CG at his best. The productions is different but is done well for the most part, I enjoyed most of them. This is a good start for CG but I still feel that he could one day be a great artist with his own lane. That lane is still under construction. However, this is still a good album thats worth the cash and sync to your pod. Overall Rating: 7,5/10

Top 3 Tracks

  • Outside
  • Hold You Down
  • Fire Fly


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