Review Summary: Another great addition to the catalog of one of the most talented people in basically every form of media nowadays, Donald Glover.
If I had to name the person whose talent I am envious of the most, I'd most definitely have to pick Donald Glover. The name might not exactly be familiar to you, but you've probably most definitely seen some of his work. Maybe you would recognize him from his work from the extremely popular Youtube sketch comedy troupe Derrick Comedy. Or maybe you've heard seen some of the episodes of 30 Rock that he wrote. Others might have stumbled across his Comedy Central Presents when surfing the channels late at night. Though most people probably know him solely as "Troy" from "Community" on NBC. He also started a Twitter campaign to get him an audition to play Spider-Man in the new reboot of the franchise, and got the support of the likes of Stan Lee and Brian Michael Bendis.
So he's an actor, comedian, and writer. Plenty of people do that. If you check his blog, he talks about fashion, hot women, and music. That's exactly what Kanye does. What's the big deal? Then you get to Donald's music. He's been rapping for the past few years under the name "Childish Gambino." He released two mixtapes entitled "I AM JUST A RAPPER" in early 2010, then followed it with his album "Culdesac" later on in the year. On his music he shows his skills as a rapper, singer, and producer. He has very little input from others in his music. He's one of the biggest up-and-comers in the rap scene. Up there with Odd Future and Das Racist. "EP" is his latest work, a 20 minute EP with 5 new songs.
Donald's subject matter is generally very commonplace for rap. He raps about sex with hot girls, fashion, fame, money, blah, blah, blah. We've heard it all before. But it's not what he raps about it that makes me love his music, it's how he raps. He has some of the best one-liners that I've heard from a rapper in forever. In his songs he namedrops such things like Lil' B, Ariel Pink, Wiz Khalifa's "Black and Yellow", and Jesse from "Saved by the Bell". In "Not Going Back", Donald writes an verse about attempting to write a verse for Rashida Jones (of "Parks & Recreation" and "The Social Network" fame). His raps are so diverse that you can tell he's in between worlds. He's a geek who makes the same music as gangsters. He addresses this in the first words he raps on the EP: "Hard for a Pitchfork, soft for a Roc-a-Fella". He knows he's not exactly what people imagine a rapper being, but he doesn't care. On "My Shine" he says, "*** 'rap cool'. I make cool rap."
This EP shows that Childish Gambino has grown musically in the past year. On his earlier releases, one of the main comparisons he got was that he sounded like Lil' Wayne. On this EP, he still has somewhat the same Weezy-like flow/voice, but he switches it up. His production has gotten better, though he still hasn't done anything that could really be considered a "banger". The only real downside of the album has to do with what he does best: lyrics. I went on earlier about how clever I found his lyrics, but some of the pop culture references might (and probably won't) stick in a few years. His songs are hot now, but will anybody know what the hell he's going on about if they listened to this in ten years? Will I still think that this is a 4/5? Or will it drop down to 3-3.5 territory? Or maybe even lower?
All in all though, "EP" is a fantastic release and is definitely worth every penny you pay for it (probably because it's free on his website, iamdonald.com).