Producer: Boi-1da, Detail, Jordan Evans & Matthew Burnett
Yeah, yeah, I hear you. "What are you doing picking a radio freestyle?" Well, let me tell you a story. This is the story of how I came to appreciate Childish Gambino.
I knew who he was before, of course. I'd watched one of his comedy specials, and had seen his name on the Internet, heard he was starting a rap career. I saw that painfully awkward interview he did with Chief Keef. Nothing was telling me to go listen to Childish Gambino right now, though... Until he hit Sway in the Morning and I watched him rhyme over Drake's "Pound Cake," with Drake's pop's "gravely" voice in the intro.
See, I'd heard about the real life that cat born Donald Glover had been dealing with. I'd seen what he was posting to Instagram, and given his position of being a multi-talented brother with few avenues to truly express himself in today's world, I could understand his frustration. This freestyle? This summed up a lot about Childish Gambino, answered some questions that I had.
Could he spit? Yes! In fact, he puts words together in a way that many rappers on his level don't often bother to do, with a balance of humor and #reallifeshit that only a few of them ever achieve. No-holds-barred honesty like "silver-spoon coon," and that multi-level line about "niggas quit being hot, man/Cold turkey." That's really catching my ear. And when he digs into his peers who have made millions, from Haim to Kendrick Lamar, and how he could've done this if he wasn't "in his feelings." And then he does something that truly dropped my jaw: he stops flowing to really just talk. Like the hook to this freestyle (if freestyles can even have hooks) is a conversation he's having with Sway about the importance of money. And then, just as Sway starts saying that his words are "on point," what does he do? He jumps right back into spitting. And, again, very, very well!
Sold. Won over. Childish Gambino is for real. —khal