Song of the Day #4,432: ‘Sunrise’ – Childish Gambino

I’m a big fan of Donald Glover as an actor, writer and overall entertainer. His work on Community was sublime absurdity, and the auteur’s touch he brings to Atlanta is simply brilliant.

But when it comes to his music, recorded under the name Childish Gambino, I’ve found it harder to enjoy. With the exception of the wonderful ‘Redbone,’ his second and third albums left me pretty cold. I see he released a fourth album this past March that totally missed my radar, so maybe I should give that a listen.

All that said, I do love Childish Gambino’s debut album, 2011’s Camp. This is the most mainstream music he’s ever released, but I’d venture to say it remains the best. His lyrics are great, blending smart pop culture references with some very perceptive takes on race and masculinity. And the tunes, produced in collaboration with frequent partner Ludwig Göransson, are true bangers.

[Verse 1]
Yeah nigga, it’s me again
I’m still around, I guess I win
You hear me in your sister’s room like all the time
“Gambino Girl forever” on that bracelet that she bought online
To dudes who couldn’t take it, might I say, “Hasta luego”
‘Cause I’m takin’ all your city like I’m Carmen Sandiego
I am smokin’, I’m on fire
I am blazin’, don’t get hurt
To my white dudes, it’s a concert
To my black nerds, this is church
From that NYU dorm to the Emory
Everyone hated me, I’m more hip-hop than you’ll ever be
I’m bustin’, bustin’, bustin’, I’m bustin’ on these niggas, man
And nothin’, nothin’ nothin’, n-nothin’ is the same again
You lookin’ dumb as hell man for ever sleepin’ on him
Your girl is not around, she busy sleepin ‘on him
Will he fail? Now that’s the wrong conversation
Terry Gross on the mic, I’m the talk of the nation, ha

[Chorus]
(Ayy!) What it do, bitch?
Why these other rappers do shit stupid?
While they be sleepin’, I be onto that new shit
While they be sleepin’, I be onto that new shit, ayy
(Ayy!) What it do, bitch?
Why these other rappers do shit stupid?
While they be sleepin’, I be onto that new shit
While they be sleepin’, I be onto that new shit, ayy

[Verse 2]
New shit, you didn’t know?
Black rock like a fuckin’ LOST episode
Somethin’ for these black kids to call they own
So when you skatin’ in your driveway, you not alone
She stay down like that new coat that I bought her
And the fly Rihanna girls be drinkin’ my coconut water
And I’m lookin’ at her butt, that’s that 20/20 hindsight
My shit be Jackson, Jordan, Bolton, Keaton, Tyson, 5 Mikes
Donald Glover, no relation
Always workin’, no vacation
They couldn’t feel me, no vocation
Murder verses the only motive was motivation
Money equals freedom
I’ve wanted this since a three-year-old
I’ve seen it all, like I’m John Mayer’s penis hole
Bein’ me, that’s somethin’ that’s so unusual
I’ve seen the future, and the future go, ah

[Chorus]
(Ayy!) What it do, bitch?
Why these other rappers do shit stupid?
While they be sleepin’, I be onto that new shit
While they be sleepin’, I be onto that new shit, ayy
(Ayy!) What it do, bitch?
Why these other rappers do shit stupid?
While they be sleepin’, I be onto that new shit
While they be sleepin’, I be onto that new shit, ayy

[Outro]
New shit
(Woo!)
Can’t you hear me, baby?
Can’t you hear me callin’ out your name?
Can’t you hear me, baby?
Ohh, can’t you hear me callin’ out your name?

4 thoughts on “Song of the Day #4,432: ‘Sunrise’ – Childish Gambino

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    Who is “Childhood” Gambino?😜

    I suspect your criticism on this post will draw a rebuke from my son. 😀

  2. The Cool Guy (Daniel) says:

    Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion. I think what I love about Childish Gambino’s discography is his evolution as an artist. That being said, I see where you’re coming from in that if someone asked me which of his albums was I’d say “Camp” without a doubt as well. To fully delve into how I feel Gambino has changed both mood and genre wise as an artist I would need to make a blog post of my own :).

    On “Camp” Childish Gambino is coming out on his first debut album with something to prove. There’s an undeniable rawness and unfiltered nature to this record. Every statement that Gambino delivers he delivers unequivocally. That goes for his top bravado lines like “You wanna see my girl? I ain’t that dumb. You wanna see my girl? Check Maxim.” (damn that’s a good lyric), but also his more reflective lines such as “My mom used to quote me psalm verses she don’t look at me like I’m the same person”. There’s an apologetic nature to that line and the song “All the Shine”, but there’s also a content nature to it. As he raps on the final song “That Power”, “I am who I am everything I want to be”.

    This attitude changes on the next record “Because the Internet” as the production gets more hip-hop beat driven and less alt-rock driven. Here Gambino is far more contemplative about his place in the music scene and the world and the music and the lyrics reflect that. On “Awaken my Love” I feel like he’s starting to come to terms with who he is and part of that is getting back in touch with his roots. The funk genre being one he’s loved ever since he first listened to “Maggot Brain” on repeat. Now with this most recent album it seems like a mood combination of all three with musical aspects of all three as well.

    Those are a few of my thoughts. If I had it my way I would love three versions of “Camp”, but I also respect his evolution as an artist and find the production and lyricism on all three of the albums that follow equally great in their own way. As far as the new album “3.15.20” one of my favorite songs of his period is “39.28” a truly beautiful song about his father who passed away. Other tracks like “47.48” and “53.49” combine some of my favorite aspects of Gambino as an artist. There’s also a great swagger and humor in “12.38” one of the earlier tracks on the album. I’d love to hear what you think of this record. It has some of my new favorite songs of his, but I wouldn’t say it’s my favorite. Still would be curious to hear your feelings!

    • The Cool Guy (Daniel) says:

      Oh, and as for the SOTD! One of my favorites, off of “Camp”. This is by far one of the most joyous songs on the record.
      “Always workin’, no vacation
      They couldn’t feel me, no vocation
      Murder verses the only motive was motivation”
      is one of my favorite lyrics from any of his albums. The background singer at the end Dean really makes this song as well!

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