I've been watching Donald glover since his days on Derrick Comedy(link). My favorite of his skits involves a student pooping his pants in class.
Unbeknown to me, his career developed quite some amount since the time I first noticed him. At first his role in the television show Community, then it was brought to my attention that he could rap.
and I mean rap his ass off. I wasn't told like, "hey you know that black dude from community could rap?"
I was at a friends house when he just showed me a video (this video) of a dude rapping hard as shit, and suddenly I recognized him.
I said, "....is that the dude from Derrick Comedy?"
My friend, "yup... he's tight as shit"
I was DONE. I used something called the internet to study the subject more, and found that the dude is in fact quite a phenomenon.
So why is he so important to me.
I'm a black kid, which is tight, but my issue is, I'm a black kid who comes from a middle class suburban upbringing. When I say suburban I really mean like deep in the woods with like... horses and deer and shit. I was an awkward youth who never paid attention to what race I was, and mostly stuck my nose in books, played in the woods, played videogames and drew pictures. Life was good until I went to elementary school and met other black kids.
My elementary school was further in the suburbs towards the city, where black folk became more common. It was in this place that I leanred I was a a gigantic "bitch ass nigga."
No no it wasn't because I wasn't a giant, even in grade school, I was a stone heavier and a head taller than most kids. It was simply because I wasn't black enough..I didn't care about music, especially rap. My mom bought all my clothing and most of the time I had no idea what I was wearing. I played games like "Giant Robots" instead of any sports at all.
I never got beat up. My size assured me that I'd never get assaulted and I never had a lack of good friends or good times. However socially I developed a crippling fear from always having to defend myself against other black kids because.. well we just couldn't relate to each other.
As time moved on this problem became worse. Add to the list, private middle school, of which I was one of 7 black children, who liked reading and videogames... well you get the point. It took a long time and a years of being comfortable in my own skin before I out grew my shell.
My point, besides making myself look terrible, is that Donald is an artist I can truly relate to. I love hip hop, I love culture, but I am never going to claim that I struggled to survive growing up, or that I had a criminal background.
Nope, I loved tight beats and a wicked flow, but aside from the fact that I liked fighting and talking shit, I couldn't relate to hip hop as much as I wanted to.
I rocked Eric B and Rakim, Pete Rock, Nas, Common, The Wu, all that shit that came out when I was young.
It took years of growing up on my own, and hangin' out and observing and learning before I could understand and relate in someway..
It still wasnt where I came from, not exactly. I'm still black and I know my history, but my struggle growing up was in defending and proving that I was black enough to the other black kids, including members of my own family.
Thats what I appreciate about Donald. Childish Gambino could spit sick about how I pretty much grew up, and what I have to deal with.
A lot of his songs like "Freaks and Geeks", talk about other niggas calling him faggot and talking shit because he's a nerd.
Songs like "Break" talk about growing up with girl problems, from being a nerdy ass black kid to suddenly being the hot shit.
Yup.. yeah me too.
I'm a lot older now, and a lot wiser. I've reconciled my youth with who I am and I assure you, through being a black male and surviving on my own I can relate to things alot differently now, but its good to know I wasn't the only one who had to go through what I did to get where I am.
So Donald, from all the the middle class black kids like us.
-We are Hell