If you thought comedian Donald Glover’s music career was just an experiment, that idea quickly crumbled with Childish Gambino emerging from the rubble.
In a recent interview with Hot 97, what started as Glover’s Gambino bashfully playing around with words turns into a fiery five and a half minute deep freestyle about authenticity that sounds better than about 39 of today’s top 40. And he’s not slowing down. At the end of the interview, he also announced that he has a new mixtape dropping in the next few weeks.
Often called a “white rapper” whose legitimacy as an artist and true black man is constantly challenged, the fire fueling his lyrics is understandable. In the Hot 97 interview, he even called out Drake, saying,
“Drake doesn’t get asked, ‘are you hard enough?’ or anything like that even though Drake’s life is really my life. I really grew up in the hood.”
After all, that’s what Because The Internet is all about – the struggle with being real in a virtual world.
His anxiety and desire to be real is something he touches on in his lyrics and in his public life (a.k.a. social media).
Existing in limbo, Glover grew up as an African-American kid torn between the hood and the white-wash suburbia in which he was raised – not to mention being torn between comedy/music and what people wanted him to be – and it’s easy to understand why he puts so much pressure on himself to be…well, himself.
People are like, Because The Internet seems schizophrenic. And Im like, yeah, being young and black in America is schizophrenic. You have to kind of change who you are a little bit all the time for people to respect you, for people to understand who you are.
But now, Glover is using his visibility as a platform from which to create meaningful art in more ways than one.
Glover’s been in the news recently for being cast to voice Miles Morales in Disneys The Ultimate Spiderman: Web Warriors – essentially an alternate universe version of a young, black Spiderman. His role in cartoons has strikingly represented his own philosophies before, like when his Marshall Lee on Adventure Time proclaims to the main character, “You’re like the realest person I’ve ever met.”
But the role of Morales brings Glover full circle in more ways than one, as it brings together the black and white worlds he’s been stuck between. A Spidey fan himself, he likes that “anyone can be Spiderman” and by playing a previously whitewashed character, he’s making that a reality.
Plus, a smart, funny guy standing for change? Glover is basically the real life Spiderman.
Eerily, the very character concept came from a tweet Glover sent out after someone suggested he should be the new Spiderman. From there an idea was born, a comic book written and voila; an internet concept became reality…
Because the internet.
Between his start on Derrick Comedy to the internet influence he had over the new wave of Spiderman, Glover is like Neo in The Matrix, breaking out of the fabricated world of the internet and making art that has depth, integrity, and something to say. And through all of the questions people posed surrounding his integrity, Glover’s turning out to be the most real artist we have.
So if youre still questioning whether or not he’s actually serious?
Pssh, dont be childish.