#23. Childish Gambino, Camp
Released: November 15
Don't hold Donald Glover's day job against him. It's not like you refuse to listen to Drake just because he used to be on Degrassi and you shouldn't avoid Childish Gambino because his alter-ego is a hilarious standup comedian who stars on NBC's Community . When Gambino raps nobody's smiling.
Sure, he's got some hilarious punchlines, but Camp's overarching theme is telling the truth about race in our allegedly "postracial" era. Few if any rap albums take on the very idea of what it means to be black in America as fearlessly as this one. Gambino's approach is best summarized on the autobiographical opening track "Outside" when he spits, "hood shit and Black shit is super different.” Drawing from his real life and childhood, Gambino's rhymes revolve around questions of identity and whether it's okay to be Black and different. When the end result is music like this, the answer is an overwhelming yes.