Welcome internet to the final part of my “whole bunch of stuff about Donald Glover” trilogy. If you’re just joining us, hi, I’m Chaz Kangas, you might remember me as the second verse on Childish Gambino’s “My Hoodie” from Sick Boi. For the past week I’ve been giving insight into Gambino’s early years to give you a better context for understanding the growth on his new album. Camp dropped today and you can/should purchase it everywhere as well as download MY FREE album featuring Mac Lethal, Stones Throw’s Homeboy Sandman, Alaska of Hangar 18 and J57 of the Brown Bag All Stars.
So, as I mentioned in the The Younger I Get post, Goddard was a freshman dorm that Donald was an RA in and (despite my Peter Pan-esqe wishes) I couldn’t be a freshman forever, so that May I moved while he stayed there for one more year. It’s worth noting how much talent lived in that same building at one time. The Goddard Hall 2004-2005 residents include “BET 106 and Park” Top 10 staple Elle Varner, Emmy award winning “The Daily Show” writer Jenna Kim Jones and top New York tech/business blogger Nick Judd. Bear in mind, I don’t mean we were all in the same class of how many thousand students, we all lived in
a yellow submarine the same seven story building. Good times.
So with both Donald and I being busy with where our lives went, he with graduating and writing for “30 Rock” and me with further schooling and hitting the east coast battle circuit hard, we didn’t really get a chance to link up musically. I did get a beat tape from him in spring 2007 (which I believe I still have) when I was reaching out for production for my then-upcoming album Knee Jerk Reaction, but we didn’t get a chance to finish something in time before I had to return to Minnesota for a summer.
The morning of January 23 2008* I get a call from Donald and we begin discussing music. This was two or three months into the writers’ strike and Donald’s work ethic being what it is, he decided it was the perfect time to make an album. He emailed me what he had of “My Hoodie” and asked if I could record that night. I said sure, tapped into everything I enjoyed about hooded sweatshirts as a youth, and the verse poured out of me. That night I went to his apartment in, I believe, Queens and recorded it with overdubs and everything in about 20 minutes. At the time, Donald was contemplating changing his rap name to “Bambino X,” which is why he begins his verse with “My name is Bambino.” He said the session was the quickest he’d had recording anyone for the album**. Afterward I caught the subway home and while on the platform saw professional wrestler Chris Kanyon videotaping the trains as they arrived and departed.
It’s still cool seeing how much that song gets around. It played while I was interviewed by DJ Ready Cee that fall and it even eventually got named rhyme of the week at the Hip-Hop Culture Center. The Rap Genius entry on it is surprisingly accurate, although I should mention the vocal cadence I use on the Sam Goody couplet is my homage to one of my all time favorite rap groups The Outsidaz’s single “Rain or Shine.” As for Sick Boi, it was a cool departure for Donald and really indicative of where both he and Hip-Hop was at the time. I know a lot of Gambino fans take issue with the Lil Wayne comparisons, especially those who only know Wayne from his “Lollipop”-type output, but Wayne’s The Dedication II mixtape (which you should download as it is both free and excellent) was so innovative and ubiquitous then that even if it wasn’t a direct influence on Donald (we’ve never discussed it) there’s a good chance it influenced someone who influenced him, and he married that with his Pharcyde Bizarre Ride II influence and there you have the very beginnings of Childish Gambino.
Thanks for reading, support Camp and until next time… let’s agree to agree!
*I checked. Thanks Gmail!
**Take THAT MC Chris