By Travis Helwig
Donald Glover is funny, but he isn’t joking about hip hop.
The 27 year old comedian announced on March 4th that he’s embarking on the 25 stop “I Am Donald” tour this April. During the first half of the each show, he’ll be performing stand up comedy. The second half will showcase him straight rapping. No joke.
Glover, best known as Troy from NBC’s "Community," was announced Tuesday as the host of the MTVU Woodie awards and has been making waves in the rap game. Under the name Childish Gambino, he released three mixtapes and two albums before dropping his new untitled EP on Tuesday. The EP is a follow up to Culdesac, his critically acclaimed album from 2010. “On the mixtapes and the three other albums I made, I produced everything,” he told Complex Magazine. “This album I made all of the beats and then I produced it, but some of the beats I didn't feel they were where they could be. So, I brought them to a friend of mine who does the music on "Community" … He brought it to the next level.”
The Childish Gambino style is clearly influenced by Lil Wayne. He flows with a high pitched twang and his comedy background allows him to be the perfect punch line and hashtag lyricist. But don’t ever call him joke rap. He explained on his song The Last, “I rap about my life not “I’m On A Boat”/‘Cause this joke rap sh*t’s gotten out of hand/ Only ones who do it well’s Lonely Island/ Save the raps about your cat, I am not a fan/ Leave the joke raps alone, man I’m working here.”
His lyrics combine standard hip hop wordplay (“I’m awesome rich, call a b*tch, fresher than my lozenges/The problem is you in the Danger Zone like Kenny Loggins is”), with the reality of going from nerd to celebrity (“‘Cause nobody was jockin’ my style/I had a high voice, they called me f*ggot Eight Mile/ So I stopped writing for a very long time/ Thinkin’ that a n*gga wasn’t made to bust rhymes/ And this next part, sounds like nonsense/ But I swear to God, Tina Fey gave me confidence,”) Oh yeah, he also used to be a writer on 30 Rock.
It is still unclear if he can make the full transition from comedy to rap. After releasing a music video last week, one commentator on Nah Right said that Glover “has the lyrics but he just isn’t rap cool.” The next day Glover tweeted “F--k. Rap. Cool. Rap cool can eat my a--hole.”
Tickets for the "I Am Donald" Tour are on sale now.
You be the judge. Is Donald rap cool? Does it matter?