Let me begin by saying this is less an endorsement than a curiosity. I’m a casual fan of the television show, Community. Yesterday I found out that Troy, the lovable ‘dunce’ character, played by Donald Glover, is, not unlike Drake, doing the dual rap/acting thing. Let me point out that it’s immediately clear that Donald Glover is a lot more intelligent than Drake. He is one of the writers for 30 Rock and he’s even won an Emmy for his writing on season 3 of said show. But yes, like Drake he is a TV actor who also raps. Exception two: he is a far better rapper than Drake. Glover aka Childish Gambino, has lifted this present delivery style—so utterly vogue since about 2007, 2008—from Drake and Drake of course lifted it from Lil’ Wayne, each of them doing it better than the last one and more intelligently. I was at first relieved when I heard Glover’s stuff and it was clear that he could actually rap well since it is always depressing when people you like start doing music and it turns out to be awful (or worse, mediocre). But this discovery was immediately tainted when I realized that Donald Glover, who is clearly an intelligent individual (clever lyricist, great actor, good drama/comedy writer) is no less misogynistic than Drake, Lil’ Wayne, Kanye West, and most every other rapper that’s ever attained any sort of significant notoriety. Here’s an example, these are the first couple lines from his song “Freaks and Geeks”.
“Alright, Gambino is a mastermind / fuck a bitch to pass the time / … / the beat is witch’s brew / but beware that shit is potent / e.e. cumming on her face / now that’s poetry in motion.”
This is clearly a much bigger problem than Childish Gambino. Many people, from moms to essayists, have pointed out rap music’s penchant for misogyny. My own thoughts on the matter look beyond the music itself. Being a rapper for the last ten years I’ve done a lot of thinking on rap and its ails. There are a few main ideological pillars that extend throughout most successful rap though not throughout the genre as a whole, which any true fan of rap could tell you, and those are Violence, Misogyny, and Arrogance. Concerning Misogyny, my thesis at this point runs something along these lines: I think that mainstream rap is profitable for the same reason that hardcore pornography is profitable: you can always bank on a market that provides catharsis for male rage and suppressed sexuality, both of which are especially potent and often times harmfully dormant in a society that is enigmatically built on the temperance of Christianity yet perpetually lives as though it is the day before lent. We are plagued by apathy in much the same way one can be plagued by leprosy (this is the clear tangent point where I would discuss my thoughts on Christ were this a sermon and not a diatribe on Childish Gambino and misogyny in rap music). I believe this is brought on by the glaring absence of any sort of struggle to stay alive combined with a 24/7 sensory overload campaign paid for by the same consumerism that has made it impossible to understand what a hand-to-mouth lifestyle of Thoreau simplicity actually looks like. Please don’t assume I am a wing nut. I started this whole thing off by saying that I like watching a tv show. But it doesn’t take an oracle to point out how numb our culture has become. This is all quite obvious by this point. It is really quite sad that the backlashes of this come in the form of a lot of things that Rap Music provides a valve for (namely, anger, which men are historically inclined to direct at women, perhaps because they are physically weaker, less intimidating, and, through maternal roles, traditionally supportive, which provides a clear recipe for Freudian reaction formation in lashing back, especially since mothers often remind you that you are or were a child and you’re a man, aren’t you? The big bad wolf! That’s why you have to fuck innumerable bitches until everyone recognizes you as some sort of insurmountable mongol that you-wouldn’t-wanna-fuck-with.)
And as if it isn’t enough that women are routinely lambasted and set down below the proverbial facial, they make their own situation consistently worse by buying into this shit as readily as men do. Ironically, this is usually done in a less than conscious attempt to gain the very respect they are forfeiting! And the irony deepens: they look for it from the same men that will always hate them and perpetuate all of this so long as their real rudimentary issues of hate and/or megalomania and/or needs of empowerment and respect aren’t addressed for what they are rather than band-aided, fueled, and deepened by bull shit like these two songs I’ve posted below.
So shame on you, Mr. Glover. And shame on this society (which seems each day more irretrievably jettisoned to loveless disrepair) that so irresponsibly raised you and the rest of us.
And also, congratulations at being good at rapping. I’m sure the kids at the youth center will love you. And the girls probably will too.