Gambino v Drake

Ok, just a couple of things.  First, Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino aka Troy Barnes is becoming one of the most talented entertainers around.  The guy has always been funny.  He wrote for 30 Rock, plays one of the funniest characters on TV, and was a pretty decent rapper.  Now, judging from this performance the other night on Conan he is now more than just a decent rapper.  He’s a performer.

Glover has been spitting out mixtapes under the Gambino name for a few years now.  All of them full of dexterous wordplay and killer one liners (the man is a comedy writer after all).  Now his first official release, Camp, is a few days old and its becoming more and more clear that this hip hop thing is no joke.  He just keeps getting better and better.

Alright, point number two. There is another music blog that I frequent called Pigeons and Planes. Its a hip hop and indie rock site but it definitely leaning toward the former.  The last few days there seems to be a bit of a war brewing in the comments section between fans of Childish Gambino and Drake.  I am perplexed because, other than both having albums released on the same day (Drake’s Take Care on Young Money and Glover’s Camp on indie Glassnote), I don’t see what the two have in common.  They seem to be part of two separate worlds, one awful (Drake) and one not awful (Gambino).

To me the thing that sets the two apart is work ethic.  No, Glover is not the best yet but I know he will keep getting better.  Drake is as good right now as he is ever going to be.  Take Care has eighteen tracks and ten cameos and every track has at least one other writer credited.  He’s barely on his own album!  Camp, on the other hand, features…..carry the one…zero cameos.  Drake is going through the motions and Glover is putting in work.

I guess its not that I dislike Drake personally, I just don’t respect him.  Comparing his stuff to a guy who is making the extra effort to be an artist, like Gambino, is like comparing apples and oranges.  Drake belongs to the pop world now.  The two aren’t even on the same planet.

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3 thoughts on “Gambino v Drake

  1. I think there are more reasons to compare them besides the album release date. Yeah, Drake is part of a different world, a mainstream hip-hop world that is often hedonistic and self-centered. But he’s doing things differently. People that listen to exclusively mainstream hip-hop call Drake “emo” and “soft.” It may not come across in every song, but if you listen to an album like ‘Take Care,’ there’s a lot of revealing stuff and emotion that you don’t get from most rappers. Childish Gambino does that too, almost to the extreme. I think he can get away with more because he’s on an indie label that probably let’s him say whatever he wants.

    Then there’s the outcast thing. Drake is half white, half Jewish, Canadian, and smiles a lot. CG is black but race is a recurring topic for him, and he always brings up being black but “acting white” or going to an all white school.

    Plus, they were both actors.

    I don’t know. They’re in different worlds, but I think it makes sense to compare them, because in their respective worlds, they’re coming from a lot of the same places.

  2. I do see what you are saying, but I think Drake is to the point where he now popular and if he continues with the woe-is-me attitude he’s going to have to expect a backlash from fans. Most people are far from rich and famous so when they hear someone who is being a bummer, like Drake tends to be, it tends to alienate people. I’m not saying its right or that rich people shouldn’t be sad, but that’s just kind of the way it is.

    I do believe the “soft” label is unfair though. I think emotion is important no matter what the genre is, but the hip hop world is such an uber-masculine place those artists who do tend lean toward headier subject mat (basically anything beyond clubs and bitches) tend to get written off as “soft” or “emo” as you put it. That’s not my issue with Drake. I just think he got lazy. I own Thank Me Later, I once believed. But I don’t see the growth between that album an Take Care.

    I do see Glover growing as an artist and I guess that has a lot do with him being on an indie. Major label artists, like Drake, are expected to churn out the hits, but that’s a choice he has made. I tend to prefer the indie artists because they are allowed the room to grow. They also tend to work harder, which I also respect. Drake lost that fire and it’s obvious. Maybe after a couple more spins of Thank Me Later I will get it, but it hasn’t happened yet.

  3. I’m on my fifth or sixth time through “Camp” and I have to say I’m pretty impressed. Truthfully, I don’t think all the tracks are that outstanding, however, none of that has to do with Donald’s flow. His rhymes are exactly what you would expect of a genius comedy writer being creative, witty and thought provoking. His flow is smooth and he changes it up from track to track without losing anything. Also on this album he seems to have a purpose beyond what was expressed in his EP’s. My favorite thing about this album is his ability to take topics every other rapper does, (you know like rapping about dicks, sex and banging whores) and do them in a way that hasn’t been done. The puns scattered throughout are outstanding (she’s an over achiever because all she does is suck-seed), his metaphors are brilliant (you’re a fake fuck like a flesh light) and his ability to showcase his anger through words puts other rappers to shame (fuck a backpacker with a rhino’s dick). In summary, love it.

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