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Sophie Nutt CHILDISH GAMBINO Postmodernism and Music Homage Childish Gambino, teamed up with Jhené Aiko, recreated

John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s first two “bed in” events back in March 1969. John and Yoko used their honeymoon to stage this event in Amsterdam, and later Montreal, protesting the Vietnam War. Childish Gambino and Jhené Aiko paid homage to Lennon and Ono’s “be in” in the song ‘Bed Peace’ and it’s official music video. They’re both clad in all-white like Lennon and Ono in 1969. Parody There’s a script mirroring his debut album’s (Because the Internet) events with Childish Gambino taking an acting method approach to the entire setup, which adds a mystique bordering on a James Franco-like parody to the entire record. On one of Childish Gambino’s many mixtapes, ‘Royalty’, himself and Danny Brown parody ‘Toxic’ originally sang by Britney Spears. Instead of purposefully trying to damage the authority of the popular style of music, Gambino samples the chorus, remixes it and creates a ‘cooler’ beat for himself and Danny Brown to rap over. However, Danny Brown’s lyrics can be seen to parody the familiar beat that they are rapping over. Bricolage Childish Gambino is a product of not just modern hip-hop, but postmodern hiphop, drawing influence from forward-thinking MCs like Kanye West, Lupe Fiasco, Common, and Talib Kweli. Beats contain elements of vintage funk, hip-hop, and R&B while sampling modern sounds, and Gambino isn’t afraid to sing all over the record. The production of ‘Because the Internet’ is gripping, carrying the smoothness of ‘Channel Orange’ by Frank Ocean, blended with an element of ‘Yeezus’ by Kanye West. In a certain way, he’s taken the vibe from the Frank Ocean verse from Earl Sweatshirt’s ‘Sunday’ and made a 19-song record out of it. In the single ‘Eat Your Vegetables’, Gambino samples the aquatic level theme from Donkey Kong Country on Nintendo. ‘Hold You Down’ from the album ‘Camp’ uses a sample from the “Slow Moon” theme in the 1992 video game soundtrack for Streets of Rage 2, originally composed by chiptune composer, Yuzo Koshiro. Intertextual References Gambino’s raps are littered with just as many nerdy pop-culture references as heart-wrenching confession or acts of sexual depravity. In the album ‘Camp’, Gambino references Terry Gross, NASDAQ, ToeJam & Early, Invader Zim, Carmen Sandiego, and Ludovin (who produced the album). In his single from a mixtape, ‘Eat Your Vegetables’, Childish is notable for making a ‘tasteless’ reference to the Trayvon Martin killing. Simulacrum Donald Glover, who is a comedian, writer, and actor, has been cultivating his hip-

Sophie Nutt hop alter ego, Childish Gambino, for the past four years. A bulk of his album ‘Camp’ finds the MC diving into his id; ‘You See Me’, ‘Bonfire’, and ‘Backpackers’ are vicious, with grimey beats and rhymes. Glover’s super-ego is well represented, too, as he doesn’t hold back emotionally, candidly discussing his childhood on ‘Outside’ and his faults on ‘All the Shine’. In ‘Because the Internet’, as the record moves forward, the Gambino’s druggie lifestyle with increasingly challenging production techniques and nihilistic point of view that is so far removed from what the audience has seen of Glover before, that it seems like another artist entirely. It’s that push for something beyond the current Childish Gambino persona that leads to a bit of overextension. Consumption Childish Gambino self-released a number of full lengths, EPs, and mixtapes for free download, as well as two officially released albums. The ‘Because the Internet’ tracklist is divided into different sets of Roman numerals, suggesting that each set is a vignette in the development of its story. Childish Gambino released a 75-page screenplay to pair with it and a short film titled ‘Clapping for the Wrong Reasons’. Creation Childish Gambino was the sole producer on all his independent mixtapes that he released before signing with Glassnote Records. On the album ‘Camp’, Gambino is classed as partaking in the roles; composer, design, drum programming, producer, programming, string arrangements, and vocals. On the album ‘Because the Internet’, Gambino is classed as partaking in the roles; creative director, executive producer, producer, and primary artist. Performance Everything about ‘Because the Internet’ is reactionary – from the cover picture of Donald Glover staring at the camera with that glazed look to the chapter-like sequencing of the record – all of it is designed to look serious. Childish Gambino has a twitter account under the name @DonaldGlover, for a chance to interact with his audience – although he rarely tweets; his total count presently amounting to only just over 700. The latest broadcasted performance that Childish Gambino has done is on Jimmy Kimmel live, performing singles from ‘Because the Internet’ in December 2013. The Independent newspaper suggests, “Gambino is still a totally winning live presence”. Gambino’s shows aren’t flashy – he is modest and focused, in a plain white T-shirt and jeans. This year, Childish Gambino announced ‘The Deep Web’ tour mainly in North America, however he is also performing at two venues in the UK. Influence It can be said that Childish Gambino has influenced mainstream artists who have attempted to appropriate their sound. Leona Lewis (the winner of the popular talent show ‘X Factor’) was keen to feature Childish Gambino on her single ‘Trouble’, and he featured a rap verse, marking his style on mainstream music. In an interview on the radio station, ‘Sway’, Childish Gambino addressed the

Sophie Nutt rumours that Kid Cudi and himself were to collaborate and for Kid Cudi to feature in a single in the future. Childish responded by saying that they have a “friendly relationship” and admire each-others work.