Donald Glover, Donny G, Lando Calrissian, Troy Barnes, Earn...Childish Gambino, essentially. One of the most talented people in the world today, I have been a massive fan of his since his 2013 album because the internet. His efforts as a rapper, director, actor, writer, and even producer have been incredibly successful since his time as a writer for 30 Rock and eventually starring in Community. As a major fan of his music, too, I can say his style and flow have been one of my major influences on my own career as I try to make it in this business.
The point I'm trying to make is that Donald Glover's creative mind both on screen and on air have given me ideas on how to be unique in a world that is trying to copy each other in order to be just as successful. Shows like Nashville, Empire, and Power are somewhat the same when it comes to stories in the music business. However, a show like Atlanta takes a different approach that makes it more of a dramatic comedy series about the ills and successes of being a rapper. An album like "Awaken, My Love!" is something that not a lot of artists are able to do, especially given the '70s-soul/funk vibe it gives off in a world of country and traphouse music.
Regardless, Childish Gambino is a man of many talents, and his ability to maintain that kind of responsibility in this crazy world of entertainment is powerfully inspiring. You can say this is a fanboy-type of an article, where I ramble on about why he's the greatest artist of all time or he can beat any other rapper in a rap battle, but the message is clear: this man inspired me to be creatively unique in a world of copycats.
Atlanta's concept is beyond the typical TV show
The second season of Atlanta premiered a few weeks ago, and its premise is still unraveling. The direction of characters like Darius and Paper Boi also pinpoints the way the show is revolving around three main characters rather than Glover's. Atlanta 's entire concept of making it big in the rap game, as well as a unique look into everyday life in the capital of Georgia, is not something you see on TV regularly. No other show has the crisp dialogue or music background like Atlanta, and Glover's vision of this show is entirely unique rather than following Empire or Nashville.
His music is on another level that evolved over time
As an avid fan of music, Gambino's evolution as this tongue-in-cheek rapper who then became attached to this new sound of neo-funk and electronic has been an... interesting journey. When his song "Freaks and Geeks" became popular in 2011, many thought he'd be mediocre as a rapper since he was already a star on Community. However, when his first album Camp came out, many were surprised by his change of tune in making it a story-like album. It continued in because the internet, where a sci-fi type of atmosphere was heard. Songs like "3005" referred back to his (childish) style of lyricism, although deeper tracks like "ii. Shadows" and "iii.Urn" highlighted a softer side of Gambino.
Many call because the internet a very interesting album from an artist like Gambino, but I remember listening to it all high school on because of how unique the instrumentals and lyrics were. A cut off of the album, "What Kind Of Love", kept me intrigued by his style since I saw him as an all-around artist and not strictly a rapper.
We don't see Jay-Z doing this, we don't even see a talent like Kendrick Lamar doing this. Chance the Rapper might have something similar, who has worked with Gambino before, but it's Childish Gambino that can make a song feel more than a song: it's a testament to the message he wants to send. The only thing is that we don't know what that message is...and I don't think we ever will.
Being weird can get you far in this business
There are rumors that Gambino hasn't taken a shower in years, or that he's secretly an alien sent to screw us all up. I don't believe them one bit, except for the one that he might possibly be the next savior of entertainment. His characters in Community and Atlanta come across as complicated beings going through an existential crisis or something, yet that could just be Glover's personality attaching itself to the character. Whether portraying a zany football protege or a broke manager living in Atlanta, Glover has put on some amazing performances. Even roles in The Martian and a cameo in the latest Spider-Man film have made Glover a very interesting performer.
Either way, Glover has made some interesting moments for his characters, and his sense of humor can be seen as different, odd: weird, as we say. His first-ever stand-up special was called Weirdo. But, in a good way, this kind of weird has made him more unique. It opens a door to anyone, not just me, that we can be different if we want to make it in this business. Don't be a copycat. It will only make you apart of a string of similarities.
Overall, Childish Gambino's talent as a comedian, musician, actor, director, and producer can start and end conversations. As a creative genius, though, that is an open-ended conversation. You can have your opinions about him, good or bad. As an artist, though, I feel like I can take something from that in order to be just as different, and just as weird. Thank you, Donald Glover, and I hope one day you and Levar Burton can make a Reading Rainbow reboot.
Wrote a note on the glass:
"You see what these labels do to me?"
Texts said, "I'm wet"; I said, "Hold up, wait a minute"
H20 plus my D, that's my hood, I'm living in it
Never forget this feeling, never gonna reach a million
Eventually all my followers realize they don't need a leader
- "iii. Life: The Biggest Troll [Andrew Auernheimer]"