The Bay Bridge (which connects California’s rough city of Oakland with its peace-loving city of San Francisco) is a lot like Childish Gambino’s debut album, Camp (Glassnote Records; released Nov. 15, 2011). Gambino’s rap stylings bridge ghetto and hipster in way that can only be described as quintessentially hipster-hop. Though some of the slower, saccharin tracks on Camp are skip-able, I can’t deny the fact he’s got mad skills; and the album’s otherwise loaded with turn ‘em up tunes from the bouncy beats of “Heartbeat” and “Sunrise” to heavy hits like “Bonfire” and “Backpacker.” His lyrics don’t shy away from teasing any refraction of the rap spectrum–and before I could label him a suburban version of Drake, his smart-ass, self deprecating lyrics beat me to it. The line “Why does every black actor gotta rap?” from the song “Bonfire” had me laughing out-loud–mostly because Gambino (whose real name is Donald Glover) is more famous for his role as Troy Barnes on the NBC show Community. There’s nothing I love more than someone who can joke about themselves (if nothing else, so I don’t have to), and my own ghetto/hipster hybrid ass is excited to see what this kid comes out with next.
8 out of 11
(Glassnotes Records; 2011)
All albums reviewed in this space are available at Maui’s only record store, Requests (10 N. Market St., Wailuku, 244-9315)