Let’s be real. The hottest thing in rap this year will probably end up somewhere between Watch the Throne and Tha Carter IV. But, for all of us privy to the pseudo-underground, Childish Gambino’s Camp is a just as anticipated album for the nerdy boys and girls following Donald Glover over to the rap game from Community and Derrick Comedy. That statement is cemented by the first track to fully see the light of day from Camp, a stomping cutter by the name of “Bonfire”.
If you aren’t already on board with the girl-loving wordplay and seething lyricism of Gambino, “Bonfire” brings the rapper’s EP-established stylings to an otherwise unheard level. With unapologetic references to The Human Centipede, Oreos and yes, even Casey Anthony, Donald Glover is as witty and smart as ever. He probably knows it too – you can hear the confidence in his voice as he rarely slips or spouts a flat line.
But, what makes this track different than what we’ve heard him do before? He’s always been calling out haters, and yes he is still up to his expletive-slathered kinda-sorta love stories, but this whoa-oh-tinged, snare slamming beat transforms the brooding, self-reflective ways of his EP into an adrenaline-charged track with a fiery chorus – if we can even call it that. Lines like ‘I make the beat retarded, so I’m callin’ it a slow jam’ will have you shaking your head, if only because you know he may be at the best we’ve ever heard him.
If “Bonfire” doesn’t make you excited for Camp as a hip-hop fan, I don’t know what will.