Childish Gambino Camp

Childish Gambino Camp
Community actor Donald Glover has started to take his rap career as Childish Gambino seriously; Camp is Gambino's debut full-length, following several free mixtapes and EPs. Produced by Glover and co-writer Ludwig Goransson, the album's production draws on the sweeping strings, military drums and choir vocals minted on Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Over the 13 tracks, Gambino explores what it means to be black, intelligent and middle-class. His struggles with class, fame, love and race are sincere, but in exploring these topics rarely does he delve beyond surface level complaints about feeling out of place. The emotive sincerity of "Letter To Home" is hard to reconcile with the spazz-y, womanizing braggadocio of "Bonfire" and "Backpackers." Though Camp is a marked improvement from Gambino's earlier work, he needs more practice; his flow is sloppy and often offbeat, and the punch lines are split between genuine wit and strained pop references. Frank coming-of-age tale "Outside" and the winsome camp story on "That Power" point the way forward for this young rapper. (Island)