Thought Catalog

5 Things I Always Tell Daisy Lowe About Donald Glover

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I have this recurring dream.

In the dream I turn to my model girlfriend Daisy Lowe at a Childish Gambino show and say, “See, he’s like The Throne and Lonely Island in the same dude!”

Her eyes twinkle before she grabs me, plants a kiss on my lips, and yells out like that adorable Debeers Diamondcommercial, “I love this man! Yes, that’s brilliant! And it’s so sexy to deconstruct it from afar, over being, like, on stage. Seriously! We should just go home and talk more…” followed by a big slow wink and a smile.

Her tights second the motion; the pursed pouty lips are lilting, “thirded.” But I barely notice “the signs” because I’m still dazed and confused thinking about the Throne/Lonely Island dude. It’s really important to me! What the world needs now, the great missing link in the cultural food chain, is an emcee with hot flame-spitting authority whose brains are scrambled with, and this is the tricky part, Chappellian, Galifianakian, Silvermanian irreverence. You know what I mean? Throw some cheese and bacon on that? Hold the grits. The best rappers, for better or worse, are best at a sort of artful-aggression. The best comics sprinkle some crack on all of that silliness. Put that in one person and then maybe locate the Gay Blake Griffin along with whomever is a mix of Kristen Wiig and Beyoncé (call me!) and we’re well on the way to righting the universe. I know this to be true.

“Well? Are we going home to think and talk some more or what?”

Daisy’s flashing our secret “let’s go” signal (if you must know, it’s six blinks in rapid succession followed by crossing her eyes until it hurts. This means ¡Ándele! ¡Ándele!). I look around and all the faces at the concert look like Donald Glover’s. Hmmm, maybe I’ve been thinking about this too much. I give her the nod for departure.

So we’re off!  Daisy and I hail a cab. Or rather, she gets the cab and I get in it with her (black dude joke). Inside she puts her head in my lap and I say, “Okay look, I’m going to try not to ramble. I mean it!  But real quick, here’s what I think are five crucial questions/issues for Donald.”

She looks up at me like she cares what I have to say, even though in five minutes I know she’s going to fall asleep, and I’m going to wake up. It happens every time. I keep thinking if I get my points out quickly enough maybe she’ll stay and talk to me some more:

Okay, #1, is Donald like Blackcore or not?: Gambino is very black-conscious, but is it for real or for show? I’m down with Glover’s potential as a household name in the lineage of contemporary black-conscious artists like Tribe, Lauryn Hill, Will Smith, Chris Rock, OutKast, Dave Chappelle, The Roots etc. This type of talent can trickle down to the tectonic level of culture and loosen the ground for deep-seated progress (though maybe you just like the music and laughs!). But Donald’s “swing-low” lament goes in and out of tune. Is he comfortable throwing up the fist clad in black leather or not? This is a question because:

#2, Ballad of the Stereotypical Non-stereotypical Black Dude: His lyrics have a lot of e-moaning about being racially pigeonholed, but on a landscape littered with hip-hop hyphenates you want to point to his wings and say fly, little pigeon, fly. Do you. If someone isn’t on board with DG being a rap star, they’re probably just indifferent. Or maybe bored with the stereotypically non-stereotypical black dude routine. Sometimes it feels like he’s pounding on the walls of a box he made for himself. There’s no groundswell for “thug nigga” shit from Childish Gambino. Everyone’s fine, I think. If he were a blog or think piece, his would be a straw man argument. Ultimately all this false melodrama in his lyrics about identity issues distracts us (and more importantly him) from actually venturing into new ground instead of just talking about it.

Daisy Check: fffffff, she’s fading, though mumbling something about me not being a stereotype. (ya heard.) I nudge her to buy some more time, but also because the next thought relates to the ladies.

#3 Isn’t his sexism a little out of character? Rappers play characters that fit the narratives they tell, and so we accept some “Let’s pour nut-juice on all these hoes” from a Rick Ross and others who traffic in this, uh, glamorous? lifestyle. But the self-awareness we love in Donald’s comedy undermines the cum/female-face ratio of his albums. Honestly, who pines for the face your dick constantly uses as a spittoon? Now don’t get me wrong, I’m pro blowjobs. Love ‘em! Rock the Vote for the Blow Jobs/Sex ticket in 2012! But the Gambino-as-playa-playa shtick feels, well, childish; if not weird or disingenuous in a smarmy way.

Daisy perks up for a second. “I’ll show you smarmy!” She’s tickling me.

Stop it, Daisy! Only two more:

#4 is: like, dude, Why So Serious?: Sincerity is a noble conceit in these days and times, but much like interrupting a tickle session with Daisy Lowe, sometimes being too self-serious bogs you down en route to Enjoying Life(). He may deny how seriously he takes his rap career in interviews because he is smart and humble enough to know better, but you don’t go from Wu-Tang name generator to Rolling Stone on a lark. He means business. And the show-and-prove sincerity shows in the music. There’s talent, but the overall effect is a little sweaty. The best rappers sound effortless, but Gambino’s always turned up to 10. The irony here being that for all the comic pedigree his rap persona is too serious (bordering angry) to be the butt of a joke.

AND FINALLY…

#5 is: Why are Gambino and Glover so different?:

As a hip hop fan, I’m delighted to see a mind like Glover’s in the mix. A potential Joker to hip-hop’s Batman. But it’s also kind of sad to see what he thinks good rap should sound like. How he modifies Donald to service hip-hop. When Gambino grabs the mic and says he’s destroying everyone, it includes the Glover persona we know from his sketches, standup, and internet presence. With the petty humblebrags, sexism, self-inflicted racism (he harpooned this himself, we get it) etc. the concern is that he’s a lesser rapper specifically cause he’s chosen the lesser parts of rap to emulate.

EXHALE

Daisy Check: Aggggh! she’s asleep, which means I’m probably about to wake up.

But that’s the dream, pretty much. I guess it’s only a dream. But it’s been bothering me. Hopefully this helps. At least with the Donald part. TC mark

image – Donald Glover

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    • http://theholylance.com Nick Cox

      Who’s hip-hop’s Batman? Or is Batman hip-hop as a whole? If you meant the latter then I must say that is a pretty fucking trippy analogy.

    • macgyver51

      I get it. Its a dumb article, but I get it.

    • Bobbuilder99

      Donald has white person approval for being not stereotypical black but black simply. #blow it

    • http://thefirstchurchofmutterhals.blogspot.com/ mutterhals

      I’m so old, I only know Daisy Lowe because she is Gavin Rossdale’s daughter.

    • Iamsoy

      I’ve been a huge fan since Culdesac, for all of the aforementioned reasons. CAMP seemed a bit redundant in the “playa-playa”, “girls didn’t want me in high school, but now they do” shtick… But I let it slide considering this was his official EP and I had faith he’d mix it up in the second album with GlassNote (so a group of bitchy 12-year old girls defined who you are today?… whatever, dude).

      But when I saw him tweet this on Monday:

      “If you like Childish Gambino because he “speaks clearly” or “uses actual english”, you’re on some real “die slow” shit.”Seriously?! No one deserves success if they’re going to outright insult their fans. Eat a dick.

      • http://intervital.tumblr.com eileen

        i see where you’re coming from but i think the issues those prepubescent brought up in him just followed him with all the girls he’s been with since then and the ish that you go through when you’re really young sticks with you like crazy. so i don’t blame him for keep on going back to that. 

        oh i can completely understand his tweet. bothers the shit out of me when people compliment me on speaking english so well when i was BORN IN THE US. it’s some microaggression bs. and i don’t consider them fans, they’re just surface level. it’s one thing to admire his wordplay and eloquence but another to backhand compliment him about speaking clearly. he deserves success for sure.

    • Anonymous

      You had me at “Chappellian.”

    • Chase

      I love Childish Gambino…and I dont think I like this article. Yes he has his “I get bitches now and didn’t before songs” but he also has his emotional songs…off his latest album CAMP check into:  outside, firefly, hold me down, kid, and most importantly… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I4NIr4tk-1k 

    • Anonymous

      sweet article, you raised a lot of issues i’ve had with the childish gambino experience as of late. he seems to have a core of rabid fans who take any criticism as a threat to his delicate verge-of-breaking-through moment going on right now, but these questions should be asked

    • guest

      the shit im doing this year; insanity…made the beat then murdered it; casey anthony

    • C.J.

      Holy shit this article sucks! Whoever you are you are a fucking assoholic douchebag. Just because you really can’t do anything big in your life besides write for a imbicilic blog, shouldn’t mean you narringly be-liddle all of Childish Gambino’s hard work. You probably enbrassed you life and had it way easier then he has. None of the tribulations he went through would you ever experiance. I feel when Donald is Childish, he is just putting on another side or act of himself like any other artist in any genre of music does. You are singleing him out because of what he does in other fields and other accomplishments he has under Donald Glover. That is a entierly different persona of him and does cross over, but that is just him. I feel you owe him another rewrite because this is sad. You probably didnt know he grew up Jehova Witness and lived in a foster home that is parent run till he was in college! Learn some fucking true details before you put someone off like this in your pathetic little hallucinated article. Fucking assholish move Patrice.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Caroline-Evertz/25521401 Caroline Evertz

      Childish Gambino/Donald Glover is awesome – definitely love Culdesac, EP and Camp, but you are totally right about the hole he’s dug himself into (point #2). As I was listening to Camp I thought “great beats/lyrics, but his issues are basically the same as his first album.” Which I didn’t even know was an issue… does society really have that much of an issue with his music?

      All I know is it’ll be interesting what he chooses to rap about on his next album, if there is one.

    • http://intervital.tumblr.com eileen

      http://pitchforkmedia.com/reviews/albums/16074-camp/ 
      Has anyone read Pitchfork’s review on Camp? I can see why they’d say the things they did but holy crap they were being overly brutal and they focused WAYYY TOO MUCH on his persona and comparing him to other musicians and crap when they should’ve concentrated on the album ALONE. I don’t know if I should take this shit seriously. Like really… a 1.6 out of 10!? COME ON! 

      Fucking ridiculous. 

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