The first time America heard Donald Glover rap, the co-star of NBC sitcom Community was sitting on a study-room couch spitting random phrases in Spanish. "My mom and Chevy Chase are the only two people who watch Community," Glover deadpanned to the crowd spilling out of the comedy tent during a bit that riffed on Shaft, Muppet Babies, and tiny Klansmen. The stand-up was funny, but his later set as rap alter ego Childish Gambino was full of surprises. To wit, who knew the huge Blue stage crowd tolerating Kool Keith was really just waiting for Gambino? When the crowd began chanting the rap moniker Glover plucked from a Wu-Tang name generator, it was clear Gambino's fan base had been underestimated. Backed by a band complete with strings, the actor/comedian/rapper bounded across stage spitting witticisms from forthcoming commercial debut Camp and earlier material that flip-flopped from swag-filled boasts to self-deprecating nerdery. As he proved while stripping off his polo on "Fire Fly," Glover may be a comedian but he's no joke on the mic: "Man, why does every black actor have to rap some?/I don't know, all I know is I'm the best one."
Copyright © 2021 Austin Chronicle Corporation. All rights reserved.