Childish Gambino’s Top 5 Most Underrated Songs
“And I’m out of this world like Tang, nigga / That’s a space bar, man, I hate y’all”
There’s not many people I can think of who had a better 2016 than Donald Glover b.k.a Childish Gambino a.k.a MCDJ. He’s been on fire these past 7 months — the announcement of confirmed roles in both Spider-Man: Homecoming as well as an untitled Star Wars film in 2018. Acting as Executive Producer and star of the FX hit show Atlanta — which premiered in October and ended up winning the Golden Globe for “Best Music or Comedy TV series” while Glover took home the award for “Best Actor in a Comedy Series”. 2016 also saw the release of Bino’s third studio album, Awaken, My Love, which in case you haven’t read, Maegan reviewed here.
With so much buzz currently surrounding the 33 year old, I decided to revisit some of the writer ternt stand up comedian ternt actor ternt rapper ternt sanga’s prior works and compile some his most underrated songs. This list will contain 5 Gambino songs of my choosing — ranked in order — that I consider to be some of his best work but just never received the recognition as some of his more popular songs…until now!
5. Fucks Given — STN MTN
Released as a joint project with Kauai in 2014, almost a year later after the release of his high acclaimed and Grammy-nominated second studio album, Because The Internet, Gambino finally got his own Gangsta Grillz mixtape hosted by none other than Mr. Thanksgiving himself, DJ Drama. With what almost seemed like a victory lap and ceremonious flex, Gambino flowed effortlessly throughout the project, showcasing his flexibility to flawlessly deliver witty punchlines and delicate melodies over hypnotizing Southern beats. One of the standout tracks on this tape IMO was [No] Fucks Given. Bino came here to do his own shit and just like the song suggests, no fucks are given. The Nick Banga produced beats slaps so hard and really marries the traditional Atlanta 808 heavy sound with Gambino’s signature bravado and charisma. This is peak rapper Gambino at his most flossy.
“You ain’t heard of Bino? Cuz that boy amazing!”
4. Unnecessary ft. ScHoolboy Q & Ab-Soul — Royalty
Unnecessary was one of the standout tracks on Bino’s 2012 mixtape, Royalty. This track was significant as it was one of Gambino’s first songs with any [notable] features. Gambino also produced the beat. I personally think what makes this track so good is the diversity of all three artists featured. Bino provides witty references, Q provides the gangsta element while Soul comes in at the end and raps about whatever he raps about but he makes it sound good! Royalty was a significant mixtape for Bino IMO because it showed that he could be taken serious in the world of hip-hop and the entire tape displayed way more aggression than any of his previous works. Bino had the juice and was gonna tell us.
“Q and Bino in the House and you niggas in the Senate, get it?”
*Tiny Fey talking shit at the end of the final song on this mixtape might be the best outro I’ve ever heard
3. L.E.S.— Camp
Released in 2011, Camp was Gambino’s first studio album and Track 8 may be one of his best songs period. While that’s debatable, there’s no denying that this song is one of them most beautifully produced songs in his entire catalog. I love this song so much because it just evokes such strong imagery. When you hear this song, you can’t help but picture a rainy weeknight in NYC while you stand on the sidewalk waiting to hail a taxi, thinking about the girl you met at the bar the night before.
2. The Worst Guys ft. Chance The Rapper — Because The Internet
Batman & Robin. Starsky & Hutch. Childish Gambino & Chance The Rapper. When you talk about great duos, you have to speak about Bino and Chano. These guys just go together. While they haven’t made many songs together, they are .1000 anytime they do. The chemistry is electric. Not to mention the video looks like a fun ass time and makes me wish I could be there friend.
I wish they would just tell us what she needed though…
2a. Telegraph Ave (Oakland by Lloyd) — Because The Internet
I just had to throw this one in here because this is my favorite Childish Gambino song + video of his however I wasn’t sure if this was necessarily an underrated song because I thought this was a pretty well-received song however after closer inspection, the video for Telegraph Ave has less views than The Worst Guys, so I figured I’d throw them both in here. Fuck it. Enjoy the genius of Donald Glover… and the beauty of Jhene Aiko.
Also, why isn’t Oakland an actual song? WTF Lloyd?
- Freaks and Geeks — EP
Firstly, I have to thank my boy Lennyn for being the first person to put me onto Bino back in college. He would play Freaks and Geeks literally every time we got in his car. I was familiar with Donald Glover but had no clue he rapped, especially under a name he created with a Wu-Tang Name Generator.
EP was Bino’s first EP, released in 2011, and basically was his introduction to the music world. I’ll never forget my first time hearing this song and it was almost like the first time I heard Drake on Ransom. I knew them from TV beforehand and then seeing their first forays into rap, I could tell they both had undeniable talent. All the real true Gambino heads know this song very well and I feel like this is the song that kicked it off for him but a lot of his current fans might have never heard it. Bino has always delivered the punchlines and while this may not be anywhere close to his best song ever, it is unequivocally one of his most important.
Honorable Mention: Pound Cake Freestyle on Sway In The Morning
I would be so remiss to write any article about Childish Gambino’s music and not mention his innate ability to freestyle. While this wasn’t an actual song, I truly think Bino is underrated as a lyricist and writer.
“Soul nerdy but the flow wordy…”
Leave some comments and let me know you’re Top 5 Most Underrated Childish Gambino songs!