Donald Glover/Childish Gambino Warehouse Live May 3, 2011
WTF is "nerdcore"? That's what we went out to discover last night at Warehouse Live at the combination comedy and rap show performed by the same dude, Donald Glover, whose rap style as Childish Gambino has been lumped into this weird subgenre.
Glover raps, acts on NBC's Community, does stand-up, sings and, to top it all off, he's super-buff. All of this didn't really convince us, however... we'll explain the breakdown later.
First thing you need to know: Warehouse Live was packed with serious, die-hard fans: fans that told us every release he's put out since 2008 and who were wearing his "signature" red jacket. Question: Since when does a red AmApp jacket become someone's signature look?
Anyways, Glover came to the stage promptly at 9 p.m., as advertised, to do some standup comedy. Pretty entertaining stuff; he name-dropped some celebrities and made fun of people. He "video chatted" and bantered with James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem, and then suddenly got another call, this time from himself...from the future.
Future Donald Glover was calling him to warn him what would happen if he continued to do both rap and comedy. Present Glover left the stage and was suddenly on the big screen with Future Donald as the conference continued.
Future Donald - who had a hook for a hand and a fake 'stache - warned Present Donald that other rappers would try to copy him by combining standup and rap. Just as he was about to throw away his raps - the crowd screamed out "NO!!!!" - Future Future Donald stopped him.
Present Donald has a change of heart and decided to come running to the show as his band onstage began the crescendo to his entrance. At this point, we thought, "OK. No more Donald. No more of this guy. Too much."
So, Childish Gambino comes to the stage to a writhing audience who moved us in a current of high school counterculture. After a deafening introduction, he performed one of his most popular tracks, "Freaks and Geeks," and we watched as almost everyone in our vicinity screamed back the words.
Glover had a full band onstage: Guitar, drums, violin, and a DJ. His band members were as high-energy as he was, jumping around the stage and constantly moving.
For the roll-call song "Put It In My Video," Gambino brought comedian/musician Reggie Watts to the screen to do some backup beatboxing. He helped Watts by 'scratching' while naming off all the types of girls he would like to feature in a video: Smart art chicks, dumb hoes, smooth girls, nerd girls, you're all welcome.
And by welcome, we mean, qualified to have sex with Childish Gambino: "Girls that turned me down are saying please and sorry, you're lucky that I'm Randy-Aziz Ansari."
As the show progressed, we realized that his content had a theme. That theme is very similar to the philosophy behind the Mike Jones hit "Back Then." Dude is super upset that the same ladies who shrugged him off before he was famous are now trying to spend time with him.
After "Bitch, Look At Me Now"- really? -and "So Fly," we came to the conclusion that he's essentially an ex-nerd trying to get back at some broads via having sex with them or calling them a bitch and laughing at them.
Gambino, after a few Star Wars and Backyardigans references, also made a point to mention that he won't liken himself to the "nerdcore" genre of hip-hop that he's been associated with. Then he took his shirt off. He's ripped, he's not a nerd.
We will say that Childish Gambino is a great performer; he has a captivating and expressive stage presence and a quality, soulful singing voice. He balances punchline pop culture references with sexual overtones quite remarkably.
The best part of the show? Imperative Bun B appearance!
Oh, Bun. He's always there. We sometimes daydream that Bun will make a random appearance at our job. Like, one day we'll hear: "We have a special guest here today...," and Bun will just stroll through our office like the Trill OG he is.
Wishful thinking. After Bun dropped his verse, Gambino followed him with a freestyle. Shouts-out to freestyles, those are the best.
The set, roughly a half an hour of comedy and one hour of music, ended as punctually as it began. We stood outside and watched the crowd file through the doors, raving about how great the show was. We even ran into some schoolmates from Huntsville who rushed to the back of the venue to "maybe get their boobs signed."
Kudos, Donald, you're not just a rapper, you're a certified lothario.
Personal Bias: You can sell anything.
The Crowd: Pretty diverse, but mostly young and light.
Overheard In The Crowd: Girl: "Have you ever had a girlfriend before?" Boy: "Not really...[goes into awkward explanation of 'last relationship he was in']" Girl: "That doesn't make any sense." Oh my God.
Random Notebook Dump: It's our last week; we were just an intern.