I don’t want to be the one to tell Donald Glover to stop rapping. I went to the Yeezus tour and when Kanye said it’s bullshit that adults are boxed in to what others think about them, I believed him. I’m a changed man.
Donald Glover’s been a writer, actor and stand up comedian. If Donald Glover wants to make glass sculptures with various gases inside to light them up in different colors, great for him. But it doesn’t mean he can’t suck at it.
Michael Jordan leaving basketball to play baseball is an overused metaphor for people being good at one thing and leaving to do something they’re not good at. Jordan was maybe the most dominant player pro basketball had ever seen, and he used the ridiculous competitive spirit (and some respectable athleticism and hand-eye coordination) that made him so dominant to prove himself almost adequate at semi-professional baseball. No, Donald Glover is more like Lil Jon & the Eastside Boyz playing basketball on MTV Cribs.
Donald Glover put out a new song today with Chicago rapper Chance the Rapper called “The Worst Guys.” I don’t like writing about things I don’t like, but I also think it’s important to find out why I don’t like things sometimes, no Chief Keef. So I watched Glover’s interview with The Breakfast Club in addition to hearing this song three times. In the interview, in addition to pompously admitting he’s “definitely the most self conscious quote rapper – even though I’m not a rapper,” he said he’s tired of that and wants to be “honest.” As such, the former 30 Rock writer raps on his new song, “Watch a n***a shoot like .45″ and “Wanna take shots? AK, n***a,” all while switching his flow between Kendrick Lamar, Drake and Kanye.
No one needs rap this unoriginal, especially if he’s gonna rap, “In a garage/I had a menage/I murdered the vahj.” On top of that, Donald Glover uses the much more charismatic Chance the Rapper to repeat one limp-dicked line as the chorus, accentuating nothing but Chance’s screeching whine. And that’s before it gets to the guitar solo that sucked when Andre 3000 did it and I thought was put to rest with Lil Wayne’s Rebirth.
The second dumbest thing Donald Glover said in the interview was about an unnamed song of his that Angela Yee was tepid on: “It’s kind of an existential rap song. I don’t know if that existed before.” The first dumbest thing Donald Glover said was, “Martin Luther King’s co-sign is us,” backing up his own claim that everyone needs a co-sign to make it big. He seems to overlook that King’s movement was built by King and the immense institutional pushback King felt the bloody brunt of. Donald Glover sees established grassroots movements simply as co-signs. He doesn’t see building an audience with his art as anything different from being put on. He’s complaining about his lack of opportunities for a television show while saying NBC let him out of his contract and FX gave him a show to do whatever he wants. Just because one Lord of the Rings fan will tweet that this is his favorite song doesn’t mean Donald Glover needs to keep staring at his belly button and attempting to rap like a second-rate Kirko Bangz at his most turned down. The best art comes from harnessing or unleashing talent, not whims.