Song of the Day #1,292: ‘Bonfire’ – Childish Gambino

My third featured Childish Gambino song in the past few months earns its spot here thanks to one of the more compelling videos I’ve seen in awhile.

‘Bonfire’ is the hardest song on Childish Gambino’s debut album, Camp, the track most like traditional rap. It features the sort of casual misogyny and boasts about his rapping prowess that have been trademarks of hip-hop albums for decades.

But even on this rather rote track, Gambino gets off some pretty great one-liners. “I love pussy, I love bitches, dude, I should be runnin’ PETA” is a particular favorite.

He also makes effective use of so-called hashtag rapping, in which a line is followed by a short related phrase, Twitter-style:

“‘You’re my favorite rapper now’ Yeah, dude, I better be or you can fuckin’ kiss my ass #Human Centipede”

“Made the beat then murdered it #Casey Anthony”

Though this song is one of the least original on the album, the video is excellent. In it, Gambino (Donald Glover) wakes up in the woods with a noose tied around his neck. He stumbles toward a group of teenagers gathered around a campfire, trying to warn them about the approach of a knife-wielding man.

But when he arrives and his presence goes unnoticed, he realizes that the kids are reenacting the gruesome tale of a young black man who was lynched years ago in these woods — and he is that man’s ghost.

[Verse 1]
Okay, it’s Childish Gambino, homegirl drop it like the NASDAQ
Move white girls like there’s coke up my asscrack
Move black girls cause, man, fuck it, I’ll do either
I love pussy, I love bitches, dude, I should be runnin’ PETA
In Adidas, with some short shorts, B-O-O all over me
My green is where it’s supposed to be, your green is in my grocery
This Asian dude, I stole his girl, and now he got that Kogi beef
My dick is like an accent mark, it’s all about the over Es
Hot like a parked car
I sound weird, like ‘nigga’ with a hard ‘R’
Fly like the logo on my cousin’s 440
Eatin’ Oreos like these white girls that blow me
Vodka for my ladies, whiskey for a grown man
Hangin’ in the islands, lookin’ for Earl like Toejam
I made the beat retarded, so I’m callin’ it a slow jam
Butcher and I know it, man, kill beef, go ham
These rappers are afraid of him
Cause I’m a beast, bitch, Gir, Invader Zim
Gambino is a call girl, fuck you, pay me
Brand new whip for these niggas like slavery
Told me I was awful man, that shit did not phase me
Tell me how I suck again, my memory is hazy
“You’re my favorite rapper now” Yeah, dude, I better be
Or you can fuckin’ kiss my ass, Human Centipede
You wanna see my girl? I ain’t that dumb
You wanna see my girl? Check Maxim
“Man, why does every black actor gotta rap some?”
I don’t know, all I know is I’m the best one

It’s a bonfire, turn the lights out
I’m burnin’ everything you muthafuckas talk about

[Verse 2]
You know these rapper dudes talk shit, start killin’
Fuck that, got goons like an arch-villain
I’m from the South, ain’t got no accent, don’t know why
So this rap is child’s play, I do my name like Princess Di
Yeah, they say they want the realness, rap about my real life
Told me I should just quit: “first of all, you talk white!
Second off, you talk like you haven’t given up yet”
Rap’s stepfather, yeah, you hate me but you will respect
I put in work, ask Ludwig
Put my soul on the track like shoes did
Played this for my cousin, now he can’t even think straight
Black and white music? Now, nigga, that’s a mixtape
Shoutout to my blerds, they represent the realness
Shoutout to Gambino Girls, my dick is in the building
I know you hate me cause your little cousin play me out
I like black girls who nerdy but when they dance they saying ‘Owwww”
I’m sorry for who followed me
Chillin’ with a Filipina, at your local Jollibee
Yeah, I’m in her ass like sodomy
So if you see my hand under the table, don’t bother me
I don’t talk soft, that’s that other guy
I’m screamin’ “What the fuck is up?” like I ain’t seen the sky
The shit I’m doin’ this year? Insanity
Made the beat then murdered it: Casey Anthony
These rappers don’t know what to do
Cause all I did was act me like a Looney Tune
I’ll give you all of me until there’s nothing left
I swear this summer will be summer Camp, bitch


One thought on “Song of the Day #1,292: ‘Bonfire’ – Childish Gambino

  1. Dana says:

    The song is a bit more intense than I usually like, but I still find it somehow compelling, and the video is compelling as well.

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