Music Video Review
By our guest blogger, Nick Hanover
By all rights, Donald Glover's hip-hop alter ego, Childish Gambino, should be a joke. So, if you came across "Freaks and Geeks" and expected it to be on the level of the Spanish rap Glover and Danny Pudi after the credits on one of "Community's" early episode, don't worry--you weren't alone. Instead, "Freaks and Geeks" is a promising single from a gifted young man who doesn't seem content to let a single sitcom dominate his career.
"Freaks and Geeks" will immediately click with Lil' Wayne fans thanks both to Glover's Weezy-like flow and the overtly digital percussion of the backing track ("this beat is a disaster/yeah, 9/11 this track"). Like Wayne, Glover has a rapid-fire flow that remains completely clear throughout, allowing every punch line (of which there are too many to count) ring true. The video is wisely directed in a way that keeps everything focused on Glover, shot as it is in what looks like an empty warehouse where Glover practices his stage antics.
Leaping around like a kid on cocoa puffs, Glover absolutely kills the track, his performance completely mesmerizing and wholly overcoming any of the deficiencies his Weezy imitation might otherwise have. That's because hip-hop remains one of the few genres where total devotion to craft and an impassioned display can rightfully wipe away less-than-perfect production or delivery. Glover's crack comic timing helps matters as well, since he's found the perfect way to integrate it into mixtape culture, escalating his flow to mask the repetition of the beat, dropping out to make a loop that's been going forever suddenly sound like a new hook.
While Glover states that he's "running this bitch/you are just a dogwalker," it's still clear that "Freaks and Geeks" is just a stepping stone to where he'll eventually be if he keeps Childish Gambino going instead of using it as a momentary diversion from his blossoming acting career. Glover's widely hailed performance at this year's SXSW indicates that he's pretty serious about the Gambino moniker though, so we're likely going to see a breakout on the level of Drake in a year or so. Unless I'm sorely mistaken. But that never happens, right?
View the video below. Thoughts?