Dexter – Episode 10 “Ricochet Rabbit” Recap and Review

Posted December 5, 2011 by Chaz
Categories: Dexter

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Apparently, this is the only image from this season of 'Dexter' on the entire internet.

Three weeks ago I was sitting on the edge of my seat eagerly anticipating Dexter as it, after 5 1/2 seasons, was finally hitting a bold new incredible stride. Tonight, I struggle to put into words how the show entirely killed my interest in three episodes. Yes, that’s overly harsh hyperbole, but when the show just doesn’t care anymore, it’s hard for me to put effort into recapping it as well. Two weeks ago suffered from the show returning to the status quo, last week suffered from a series of underwhelming revelations packed into an hour like processed tuna into a can, and tonight suffers from having absolutely nothing of remote interest. Let’s now tackle the unfortunate task of recapping “Ricochet Rabbit.”

My immediate reaction.

Tonight’s episode is only the second non-finale in the show’s history to credit three writers in a single serving. Jace Richdale (this season’s “Just Let Go”), Lauren Gussis (the show’s co-producer) and Scott Reynolds (the story supervisor), who have all turned in great episodes in the past, couldn’t save this dire story from being an entirely unappealing monstrosity. It was directed by Michael Lehmann (first time Dexter director who did two great films in Heathers and Airheads as well as several episodes of True Blood, Bored to Death and Californication) and while I enjoy a lot of his previous work, really didn’t fit the feel of the show at all. But I’m not trying to single any one person out as to why “Ricochet Rabbit” was such a disaster, rather it seems to have taken a team effort to make tonight’s offering suck this much.

In “Ricochet Rabbit” we get a lot of Dexter arguing with Harry, something that while irritating earlier in the season has become absolutely unbearable. Michael C. Hall is such a talented actor that he’s made the voiceover inner-monologue an absolute art, as well as one of the show’s most endearing hallmarks. Instead of that, we get Harry continuing to be the irritating uncool chaperone at the party spelling out every bit of story development ensuring there would be no tension whatsoever. Travis completely throws the “he didn’t know Gellar doesn’t exist” line of thought right out the window during the worst dialogue in the show’s history between him and Gellar, making his quest as the witness to the apocalypse the worst motivation in the history of Dexter arch-nemeses. It’s painful to watch this scene because Hall, Hanks and Olmos are all ridiculously talented and they’re trying their hardest to pull out all the stops and make something worth watching only to be saddled with dialogue that is an absolute mess.

Later, Travis recruits two painfully uninteresting followers (although I do like seeing It’s Always Sunny‘s Lil Kev on my television, the writers gave his Doomsday Adam character the depth of a Putty Patroller) to kill the woman he let go a few episodes ago. Dexter also breaks the heart of Masuka’s assistant when he expresses how offensive the video game he was developing is, causing the computer whiz to immediately cancel his date with Batista’s sister and become another one-note boring character. Even Quinn’s downward spiral was just cartoonish, substituting the delightful scumbag elements for being a lazy irresponsible worker. This gets Batista, one of only two characters on an interesting upswing this season, captured by Travis. As for the other still enjoyable element of the show, Lieutenant Deb, she didn’t really do a whole lot. We got the split-second panic of her discovering Matthews’ involvement with the dead girl, and her finally being self-sustained enough to not rely on talking to Dexter about everything. Again, we get growth from Deb but this feels like territory that has either already been covered in a previous episode or should have been. It’s unfortunate now that, if any characters look like they aren’t going to make it to next season, it’s these two.

PLEASE STOP SUCKING!

We have two episodes left and my interest in the show is at an all time absolute low. I know the internet is a great place to complain about things, but in my quarter-century of watching television I don’t ever recall going from being at the absolute pinnacle of enthusiastic for a show to complete and utter indifference in a matter of weeks. I’d like to think the only place to go from here is up, but as last week proved, sometimes the bottom drops out.

We give Ricochet Rabbit a One Out of Five

So until next time…let’s agree to agree!

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Dexter – Episode 9 “Get Gellar” Recap and Review

Posted November 28, 2011 by Chaz
Categories: Dexter

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Image unrelated to, but infinitely more interesting, than tonight's episode.

When we last left Dexter, he was in a bad episode. This week finds him in another bad episode helping his disappointing passenger find a worthless twist buried beneath the church. Dexter is working hard on becoming full-fledged television for idiots, so let’s take a look at another contender for worst episode in the entire series run “Get Gellar.” Oh, and I’m not crediting a writer or director this week because I’m convinced neither verb actually was involved in its making.

So, all along Professor Gellar was in Travis’ head. If you didn’t see this coming or at least entertain the possibility, don’t be so bitter about those of us who saw did. I’m noticing a lot of smug “I called it” and “STFU, U DID NAWT!” over social media right now and as much as I don’t typically enjoy the “CALLED IT” crowd, this is one time when they’re completely in the right. This isn’t like the end of Fight Club or the end of The Sixth Sense where the twist is meticulously assembled to be utterly jaw-dropping, or even the end of Scream where the shocking revelation gives us the reveal of a fun “whodunit?” mystery. No, those of us who got the confirmation tonight with a slouched over frozen sexy Edward James Olmos in a freezer greeted the news with a certain eye-rolling mourning. If you’ve been following my episode recaps, you would know while I’d seen the evidence rolling in week-after-week about Gellar being Travis’ dark passenger, I’d been hoping against hope the “obvious signs” were deliberate red herrings from the writers that we had grown accustomed to in order to keep us guessing. The moment Gellar started bleeding from his head in an earlier episode, the cat was let out of the bag marked “there’s a cat in this bag that’s going to be let out.” It’s a flaccid crescendo made worse by being lead up to with episodes containing some of the best writing the show’s had in years.

It seems every Thanksgiving weekend Dexter gives us a awful twist nobody likes, and this year we get the missing Ice Truck Hooker’s hand in the apartment of Masuka’s intern. Just when the super-google pioneer becomes an alright addition to the show we get this. Harry is also back in Dexter’s life, officially adding absolutely nothing, now more than ever. His presence on the show is akin to the parent who keeps walking in on his kid’s parties and trying to hang or hold the kids’ attention. The biggest disappointment for me personally, however, is the reveal that Deputy Chief Tom Matthews was behind the death of the overdosing hooker. It’s bad enough this storyline has to put more LaGuerta on my television, but now we’ve made one of the few consistently entertaining pillars of the show fall from grace for absolutely no reason. Matthews has always been a catalyst for interesting non-Dexter related storylines on the show, and making him a drug-addicted murderer is just desperate hack territory and goes against everything the character meant to the show’s universe in the most banal way possible. The only upside about the reveal being Matthews (and I apparently am the only person surprised that he was behind it) was that it wasn’t LaGuerta-Batista part #4082. With how much the show’s obsessed over their uninteresting boring dead end relationship and Batista’s penchant for drinking with whores, not to mention he was the only person LaGuerta asked about at the crime scene, that seemed pretty open-and-shut to me. Sadly, making it Matthews was the only worse option.

The only things I actually enjoyed this week were Quinn’s continuously entertaining downward spiral and Deb’s talks with her therapist and finally standing up to LaGuerta. From those two we got both logic and character growth while still remaining entertaining. I do have to ask though, with so much of Deb’s dialogue consisting of whether her brother was a table of a chair, was this episode was co-written by Tyler, the Creator’s Twitter? Otherwise, while I would never openly begrudge someone for their personal tastes and interests, I struggle to comprehend what fans who enjoyed tonight’s episode really want out of the show. Even with the pointless and predictable twists, the elevator sequence, bloodbath and big reveal were constructed so poorly that the episode had the intensity of a massage from a three-toed sloth.

We give “Get Gellar” a Two Out of Five

So until next time…let’s agree to agree!

Dexter – Episode 8 “Sins of Omission” Recap and Review

Posted November 21, 2011 by Chaz
Categories: Dexter

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Have we ruled out the killer being Chet Haze?

Well Dexter fans, what a difference a week makes. While last Sunday I found myself sitting down at the edge of my seat as the show ventured down Dexter’s dark path in a way we haven’t seen before, the conclusion of “Nebraska” left us mid-season with more answers than questions as hitch-hiking Harry returned the show to its status quo. Not one to give up, I apprehensively sat down with the foreboding feeling the show had gone off the rails this season for good. Thus we begin “Sins of Omission.”

Tonight’s episode was written by Arika Lisanne Mittman (first time Dexter writer who did two episodes of Medium) and directed by Ernest Dickerson (season four’s “Road Kill,” last season’s “Teenage Wasteland” many episodes of The Wire and most importantly the 1992 film Juice). It’s really a shame that Dickerson’s tremendous talents were wasted on an episode so jarringly out of place with the season. His use of color and tremendous pacing could have made for just the momentum building over-the-hump episode this season needed to approach an endgame, but instead we face the same problem that caused the first half of season five to suck – a new writer who doesn’t grasp the intangibles of what makes the show fun. While we fortunately didn’t see Harry at all this week, Mittman’s dialogue kept the show going through the motions at a time when it really needed incentive to finish the season.

Professor Gellar continues to stalk Travis, now threatening him with his sister’s life. The day after Travis sees his sister speaking to Deb, Gellar knocks him out and later Miami Metro discover her dead and dressed in the tableau as “The Whore of Babylon.” Either Mittman is going out of her way to make us think that Gellar is really Travis’ dark passenger as a swerve, or she’s dropping balls in the most obvious way possible. Elsewhere Dexter attends Brother Sam’s funeral and receives Sam’s blood soaked copy of the Bible as a gift. He then (via a search engine reportedly more powerful than Google) uses a clue from the tableau to track down a retired senile priest in a nursing home, allowing him to discover Gellar’s whereabouts in an abandoned church. Dexter arrives and finds Travis chained to the ground, chasing after Gellar who apparently sneaks out the back way. Dex frees Travis and they agree to work together to bring Gellar down.

"That's no whore...that's my sister!"

The only interesting thing going on in the show right now is Deb’s relationship with Dexter. When she finds Dex’s pen fron the rest stop he stayed at in Nebraska, she instantly puts it together (Lieutenant!) that Dexter went to Nebraska to talk to Trinity’s son. When Dex gives her the excuse he needed to talk to someone who lost a loved one to Trinity, Deb chews him out as she lost Lundy to Trinity and he could have talked to her. So, she goes to her therapist who advises her to actually attempt to talk to Dex about what’s going on in his life. I’ve had a theory, stemming from the finale of season 5, that Deb actually knows about Dexter’s dark passenger and how he’s been killing “bad people.” I believe she’s either in denial, secretly cheering him on and wanting him to hide it better, or is trying to get him to admit it himself. I’m calling it that by the end of this season she’ll either die and/or reveal to Dex that “she knows.” But back on tonight, it’s nice to see her actually showing her detective chops and not being afraid to bust Dexter’s ass in front of him.

"What are you doing here?" "I'm wasting time with a subplot nobody cares about."

As for all the other stories, we’ve devolved into the go-to romance with a dash of “who cares?” Batista’s sister is dating Masuka’s intern, which I didn’t have a problem with because I like them as actors and their characters bring a different dynamic to this season, but now Batista is trying to scare him off. WHY?! Not just asking why is he doing this, but after the boring mess that was Batista’s relationship with LaGuerta, why would this be deemed worthwhile to put on my television set? Speaking of LaGuerta, and again I do like Lauren Velez as an actress, but why is this character on my screen rehashing the exact same storyline since season three? She’s a corrupt boss who is bullying her underlings and manipulation her position in order to advance her career. It’s tired and reeks of the mundanity that the first half of this season worked so hard to get away from. Oh, and Quinn got kicked out a bar, far and away the least shocking thing he’s done and not worthy of the eighth episode of a descent at all.

Anyone else beginning to get the feeling that LaGuerta has ulterior self-serving motives?

As somewhat of a Dexter apologist who was ready to call this season my second or third favorite two weeks ago, I cannot believe how they’ve managed to undo everything that was making this season so good. Killing Travis’ sister, using the “super Google,” reintroducing the same dead end LaGuerta storyline are the type of cheap developments the show seemed to be getting away from. If Gellar is imaginary, this season is a toxic waste. If he’s real, we might get out first non-anti-climactic showdown in four years. I’m really hoping this is just a minor hiccup in an otherwise great season. The only bright spots this week were Deb and Dex’s disagreements and Dickerson’s great direction.

We give Sins of Omission a Two out of Five.

So until next time…let’s agree to agree!

Childish Gambino – The Making of “My Hoodie”

Posted November 15, 2011 by Chaz
Categories: Music Reviews

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Gosh darn Goddard love!

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.

Sick Boi (2008). There's apparently a physical version of this out there somewhere too which I've never seen. If you have, let me know.

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

Dexter – Episode 7 “Nebraska” Recap and Review

Posted November 14, 2011 by Chaz
Categories: Dexter

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Now where have I seen this before?

Some weeks your just find yourself absolutely amped for Dexter. Even during the weaker moments of seasons 4 and 5, all it takes is a tense ending in order make a viewer turn into a fiend overnight. With the current season taking such a slower character building less-is-more approach for so many episodes, the closing moments of last week’s “Just Let Go” saw a dip into Dexter’s dark side with the return of his brother Brian, making the anticipation for tonight’s episode all the more satisfying. But did this uncharted territory bring us somewhere we didn’t know we wanted to go?

Why yes, it was a big weekend for 'American Gothic' references on television.

Tonight’s episode, “Nebraska,” was written by my absolute favorite Dexter writer Wendy West. I’ve raved about her before, she wrote both the “Hungry Man” episode where Dexter joined Arthur Mitchell’s family for Thanksgiving*, as well as season four’s finale “The Getaway” and the episode that turned an up-until-then lackluster season five around “Everything is Illuminated.” It was also directed by Romeo Tirone who has been a cinematographer with the show since season one (he’s responsible for the shutter effect on infant Dexter covered in blood) and directed last season’s “Take It” (where Dexter and Lumen killed Jordan Chase’s head of security Cole Harmon) as well as has been the director of photography for a good chunk of HBO’s True Blood. With two longtime greats for the show tackling both the return of Dexter’s brother as well as digging up the Trinity Killer murders, tonight seems not only like baiting longtime fans with the promise of everything they’ve ever liked crammed into a single episode, but the promise of it being among the show’s all time greats. The results are close, but for such a stellar season, a touch underwhelming.

We begin with Dexter and his brother Brian reunited on Dex’s boat “The Slice of Life,” disposing of the murderer we saw killed off at the end of “Just Let Go.” It’s so refreshing to see Brian (the delightfully sinister Christian Camargo) discuss Dexter’s favorite hobby without the whining of Harry or the immediate end of one of his victims. Not only have we gotten rid of Harry’s neediness dragging down the episodes, but now we have a much cooler devil on Dex’s shoulder giving a sadistic play-by-play not heard since the days of Tom Servo. I have to think Brian speaks for the fans in this episode, from cheerleading Dexter’s efforts to even telling him to make a killroom, I found myself a few times hearing my own thoughts on screen. Plus his referring to Deb as “the one that got away” and wearing a “Nebraska is for Lovers” t-shirt was just too gleefully demented not to love. Brian unlocks Dexter’s hedonistic side as they road trip to America’s heartland to kill Arthur Mitchell’s son who appears to be the “new” Trinity Killer, getting Dex some tail along the way and being forced to kill a weed-growing rest stop attendant who attempt to extort Dex for $10,000 in order to get his knives back. Tirone’s direction here is stellar as the sequence of Dexter disposing of the body into the mill is one of the most haunting images the show has produced.

Meanwhile, in other stories we have Travis seemingly breaking-up with Professor Gellar as he returns all of his belongings CW Teen Drama style. We also have Deb and “The Ishy” Quinn having a private heart-to-heart until Quinn attempts to kiss her and Deb respectfully ends things for good. The fact that Deb managed both that and subtly putting the now always-irritating LaGuerta in her place WITHOUT CRYING shows how much she’s grown this season and the show’s all the better for it. Plus, Masuka’s intern made a video game of Miami Metro, impressing Batista’s sister. With the exception of how I’ve come to dread every moment of airtime LaGuerta’s been getting (nothing against Lauren Velez who is great, but the one dimensional character hasn’t had a single worthwhile payoff to a storyline in 4 years), none of the b-stories got in the way and actually kept the show’s momentum going.

I really love this show sometimes.

As for tonight’s conclusion, I do feel a little let down. Having Mitchell’s kid be “justified” by having a conscience, regretting killing his mother seemed like a weak reason for Dex to let him off the hook, especially considering he’s killed a guy with an anchor for dissing his wife (Season 5) and an innocent photographer for NO REASON (Season 4). There was so much great suspense the entire episode leading up to not only a blowoff, but seemingly writing Dexter’s brother out of the show and ending with Dexter picking up Harry, effectively returning us to the status quo this season has worked so far to get us away from. They better be going somewhere special with this because, as it stands, there hasn’t before been such a gap between episode quality and the closing five minutes that wasn’t a season finale.

We give Nebraska a Four out of Five

So until next time…let’s agree to agree!

*Possibly my favorite episode of the series.

Childish Gambino – ‘The Younger I Get’

Posted November 11, 2011 by Chaz
Categories: Music Reviews

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Wow internet, thanks for making the video of Donald and I freestyling go viral! As I said in the last post, hello there, I’m Chaz Kangas, you might remember me as the second verse on Childish Gambino’s “My Hoodie” from Sick Boi. Next week album Camp drops, but you can already stream the album now 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.

We left off last time with Donald giving me a copy of The Younger I Get, an album he had just finished. He handed it out to everyone he knew who was into hip-hop at the time in an oddly thick white slim CD-R case with a paper cover that had a picture of him recording in his dorm room printed on it. Honestly, if there’s one thing that’s gone grossly underreported about Donald, it’s how hard he grinded. People forget, he at no point was an overnight success. Not only was he attending the most sought-after University in the country, but he was an RA for FRESHMEN in NEW YORK CITY on one of the SPECIALTY THEMED FLOORS. We all know how insane college freshmen get, but now imagine putting all of the “artists” of that group in one building, and two nights a week you’re in charge of all of them. Despite that, he managed to heavily promote himself and really perfect his craft with both Hammerkatz at UCB and Derrick Comedy, eventually winding up writing for a network show fresh out of college. Hard work, and insanity in general, pays off.

As you can imagine, The Younger I Get was born out of that insanity. Now, according to Tumblr, I might be the only person on the face of the Earth who has it. It does surprise me in this internet age that it hasn’t surfaced anywhere, but perhaps that’s more of a testament to how those of us who have it respect Donald’s wishes and haven’t leaked it. I know I get asked for it, even offered some pretty ridiculous sums of money for it, on a regular basis. But still, as Donald’s gone to great lengths to distance himself from it, my response has always been this. So, with so much misinformation about the album in circulation, I thought I’d make this post and offer you the next best thing with the most detailed breakdown of it ever assembled.

First off, the album was record between 2004-2005, NOT 2002. I’m pretty sure the inaccurate date stems from a typo in the one early 2009 interview where he was asked about it, and with nobody to correct it has subsequently been repeated to death. With references to 50 Cent, “The O.C.” and “Rap Snitch Knishes,” there is literally no possible way this could have been recorded two years prior. Speaking of Doom, Donald’s always worn his love for his favorite rappers on his sleeve and it shows as The Younger I Get is much more influenced by Madlib and the like than his later work, but we’ll get into what influenced Sick Boi later. There’s also the chipmunk-soul sample sound that makes up about half of the production, with the other half having the electronic bounce of jovial Nintendo games. Given where both Hip-Hop and Donald was at the time**, it’s pretty clear he produced it himself.

Another look at Goddard Hall, ground zero for Gambino.

Another oft-repeated critique of The Younger I Get is that it’s an overly-vulnerable Drake-lite. While there are the more introspective tracks, it’s not a self-indulgent emo crybaby fest at all. Such heavier moments, like “Black Kid” (racism faced at school at an early age), “A Runaway” (a highly personal confessional track) and “My Baby” (romantic rejection) do get *very* specific to the point where he names names of things that affected him, so I can see why he wouldn’t want the album in circulation. Otherwise, there’s a lot of fun on here. Opener “Da Man” has his charisma on full display with braggadocious wordplay I’d put on par with the best of his work. “Tengo,” with DC Pierson, is a great first collaboration between the two. There’s also a back-and-forth battle track between him and his penis (“2 Brains”) an instrumental (“Me and Austen”) and a soulful track of just him singing (“Home”). It’s clear listening to it that the same guy who made it also made Camp, and it’s cool to hear him still have that touch of the same hometown as this man, but given how much his production levels grew even three years later, the distance is understandable. I will say, if Donald ever does agree to let ONE song leak from the project, urge him for “Da Man” or “Summer is Here.” Donald and I kept trying to get together to record that fall back in NYC, but with college and both of our careers going in very different directions, we wound up not being able to finally do a song together until the writer’s strike wound up giving us a chance to sit down and discuss me doing something for his then forthcoming album Sick Boi

To Be Continued with…THE MAKING OF “MY HOODIE!”

So until next time…let’s agree to agree.

*You could call it “how hard he hustles,” but I’ve never been a fan of that word as I feel when working hard with something you believe in, you aren’t hustling someone else out of something.

**One of Donald’s single’s cover arts (can’t remember which one, please correct me) I’m 95% certain is a photo from inside of his dorm this year. The one with the video game on the TV with the bottle of lotion next to it and the desk with the two shelves.

Childish Gambino – Early Beginnings, Rapping in a Dorm Room Basement

Posted November 9, 2011 by Chaz
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Childish Gambino & Chaz Kangas 9/8/11 . Photo courtesy of Amy Desauguste, used with permission.

Hi, I’m Chaz Kangas, some of you visiting this site for the first time might remember me as the second verse on Childish Gambino’s “My Hoodie” off of his 2008 album Sick Boi. Next week sees the release of Gambino’s highly anticipated album Camp. Seeing that this is the internet, I’m sure you’re already well aware that you can stream the album now or catch him on tour as much as you know that you can download MY FREE album featuring Mac Lethal, Stones Throw’s Homeboy Sandman, Alaska of Hangar 18 and J57 of the Brown Bag All Stars.

NYU's Goddard Hall dorm. Photo courtesy New York University, used without permission.

So, instead, I’ll be bringing you this two part look back at my history with Donald, as well as this footage of us freestyling together for the first time. To give it some context, my freshman year at New York University was beginning and I had moved into Goddard Hall about a week prior. All of Goddard’s floors had themes, I was on the 4th floor (Music) while Donald was the RA on the 7th (Writing?). During that first week of college when you meet everyone and you condense yourself into a soundbite, I felt most comfortable with “I’m Chaz, I’m a Cinema Studies major and I rap.” Soon I was noticing more and more “Have you met Donald? He’s on the 7th floor and he raps too” responses. We finally met in really quick passing between classes and had one of those “You like rap? I like rap too! I like MadVillain. You like Madvillain too?! Let’s rap sometime!” rapidfire dialogues that happen in the hustle and bustle of college life. Later that night, during my dorm’s nightly “Basement Jam” sessions where all the musicians would just play and everyone hung out in-between loads of laundry and games of Donkey Kong, someone noticed Donald and I were both in the same place and invited us to rap together. Some of the guys playing weren’t too familiar with Hip-Hop beats, so we asked if they knew “Back in Black.” They did, and so this happened:

Truth be told, this is only a three-minute excerpt from 15 minutes in to a 21 minute freestyle*. Afterwords we dapped up, I gave him a copy of my high school album Notes From the Underground, and we proceeded to have a year of hip-hop shop-talkin’. I was pretty bummed to leave Goddard Hall at the end of the year, but as I was saying goodbyes that May morning, Donald gave me a copy of his newly finished album called The Younger I Get

TO BE CONTINUED! (friday.)

So until next time…let’s agree to agree!
*Which, if you would like, I could upload at a later date. Shouts to Katie Warzak for the footage.