1. Childish Gambino is the rapper persona of Donald Glover, who doesn't exactly have the stereotypical hip-hop backstory. Yes, we know Jay-Z started as a big-time drug dealer from the Brooklyn projects; Glover didn't sell crack, though, but laughs -- before he became known on the mic, he was a successful, college-educated writer, actor, and comedian who grew up in the suburbs. Glover first bum-rushed the pop-culture conversation as a member of Derrick Comedy, the sketch-comedy troupe whose 2007......  Read Full Bio »

Watch Video

  1. The rapper considers signing with a major label and thanks the radio for playing his song "3005."

    Posted

Full Biography

  1. Childish Gambino is the rapper persona of Donald Glover, who doesn't exactly have the stereotypical hip-hop backstory. Yes, we know Jay-Z started as a big-time drug dealer from the Brooklyn projects; Glover didn't sell crack, though, but laughs -- before he became known on the mic, he was a successful, college-educated writer, actor, and comedian who grew up in the suburbs.

    Glover first bum-rushed the pop-culture conversation as a member of Derrick Comedy, the sketch-comedy troupe whose 2007 video sketch "Bro Rape" became one of the earliest YouTube viral sensations. "Bro Rape"'s multi-million views led Glover to a stint writing for The Daily Show; then, before he'd even completed his senior year at New York University, Glover secured a gig writing for the smash series 30 Rock. His acting career blew up next: in 2009, Glover starred in Derrick Comedy's debut film Mystery Team -- a hit at the Sundance Film Festival -- then was cast on NBC cult hit Community as ex-football-star-with-an-identity crisis Troy Barnes. His Hollywood triumphs, however, eclipsed Glover's MC career. "I knew that because of 30 Rock and Community, people will find out I'm a comedian before they know I do music," says Glover. "But I've been doing music long before any of that."

    Indeed, as Childish Gambino -- a name created randomly via an online Wu-Tang name generator -- Glover has previously released four full albums (2002's The Younger I Get, 2004's Sick Boi, 2008's Poindexter, and 2010's Culdesac), two mixtapes (2010's I Am Just A Rapper series), and a 2011 EP featuring the Web phenomenon Freaks And Geeks. "My favorite thing is people are always like, 'You're the same person?'," Glover explains. "There's no difference between Donald Glover and Childish Gambino -- they're the same. I just want people to come at my music differently, because if CAMP was a Donald Glover album they'd be like, 'Okay, this is a joke record.' But I don't look at writing comedy as any different from writing raps." As such, the first line Gambino spits on "Bonfire" works as both virtuoso MC metaphor and goofball humor. Still, Glover's identity crisis comes up a lot. At his appearance at 2011's Bonnaroo, he performed both in a music tent as Childish Gambino and a comedy tent under his government name; that split only reflects what's happening in hip-hop culture itself, though. As Gambino/Glover wonders on CAMP's standout track "All The Shine," "Is there room in the game for a lame who rhymes?/Who wears short-shorts and makes jokes sometimes?"

    CAMP represents just the beginning of the ambitions Glover has for the Childish Gambino movement -- as he clarifies on "Hold You Down," "I won't stop until they say James Franco is the white Donald Glover." Glover's acting career continues its rise -- Community just began its third season, and he's appearing in the upcoming Muppets movie, as well as indie comedy The To-Do List alongside Aubrey Plaza from Parks And Recreation; as well, his first solo comedy special, WEIRDO, will air on Comedy Central on November 20th.

Advertisement