Funny ‘Camp’ sends serious messages

By Andriana Hayes
Staff Writer
Upon approaching rapper Childish Gambino’s album Camp, who is also known as comedian Donald Glover who stars on NBC’s sitcom Community, alongside Chevy Chase and Joel McHale, I wondered what this album was about.
With cute song titles like “Letter Home,” “Fire Fly,” and “Backpackers,” I figured this album would tell the story of young Glover at a summer camp. My assumption proved wrong.
Camp tells the autobiographical story of a foster child who is bullied by his schoolmates.  Not only that, but it tells of (as he grows up) Glover’s struggle to establish himself as a rapper, and not conform to standards that are wanted of him. Also, he discusses the racism he experiences going to an all-white school  and how he is ridiculed for being a “non-thug” rapper.
What is enjoyable about this album are the lyrics.  Just like his humor, Glover manages to fit in cleverness and puns in his lines while still getting his point across. In his song “Backpackers,” when referring to the record label he got signed to and how difficult that was for him to do, he says “No cosign, trigonometry”, playing on the word cosine.
Another aspect of Camp that’s enjoyable is the gospel-like melodies in some of his songs, like “Sunrise” and “Firefly”. These gospel chords are played as choruses, but behind Glover’s singing, another talent he has besides his comedic skills and rapping.
Overall, Camp is a good first album signed to a label for Childish Gambino. Hopefully, CG will stick with a label, so he doesn’t have to release his albums online like his previous three, and will increase exposure to fans and listeners alike.
Despite one very long song with a monologue halfway in (“That Power”), Childish Gambino manages to look past cliché rap themes, bring in life experiences, and even give advice.
With humorous lyrics and catchy gospel hooks, Donald Glover shows fans he is more than his stand-up routine and athlete character on Community. Through his storytelling, Glover explains to critics that he is not just a comedian, and his songs are one joke that should be taken seriously.