RBC Royal Bank Bluesfest

Kendrick Lamar dropped a nuclear bomb on what had become a peaceful rap climate last summer with his instantly legendary verse on Big Sean’s “Control.” Rappers brag all the time, but Kendrick caused a stir because he called out competing MCs by name, openly stating that he was aiming to destroy them all. It was a throwback move that stoked a long-dormant spirit of competition in hip-hop. Thing is, Kendrick’s claims of supremacy carried so much power because he really is the best rapper alive right now, something he demonstrated within the same flurry of syllables in which he delivered his boast. Childish Gambino, on the other hand, has no such grounds, but it didn’t stop him from making similar pronouncement during a freestyle on stage in Sydney. “I’m the best rapper, definitely top 5,” the actor-musician born Donald Glover rapped. “I cut their head off, that’s every rapper living/ That’s Kendrick, that’s Drake, that’s ScHoolboy, that’s everyone. I don’t give a fuck, I’ll fucking kill you niggas.” Dozens of rappers offered up responses to “Control” last year, most of them making untenable claims with significantly less pizzazz. What makes this so ridiculous is that Gambino essentially copied Kendrick’s phraseology from the “Control” verse, delivering a middle-school version of the same concept. It’s not the first time Gambino has borrowed from K-Dot; his recent hit single “3005” sounds like a bad Drake cover of Kendrick’s “Hol’ Up.” Anyway, watch Gambino’s freestyle tirade below.


(via Rap-Up)

In other Glover news, Dan Harmon really, really wants him back for the sixth season of Community.

[Photo by Mark Horton/Getty Images.]

Comments (50)
  1. battle of the nickelodeon actors

    • How? Your joke has a flawed premise because Drake is the only one that was on nickelodeon while Donald Glover was on one of the best sitcoms in recent history.

  2. Ah, so I guess we’ve figured out what his next rapper-character-persona is!

  3. dafs  |   Posted on Jul 28th +6

    I think Childish Gambino is basically the hip-hop version of Andy Kaufmann’s wrestling career. He enjoys it, and he realizes that calling out his rivals is part of the game, but his passion is comedy, so he doesn’t take any of it seriously.

    • i would’ve agreed with you even a few years ago, but he’s stayed as far away as possible from anything comedy for a while now. kinda sad.

  4. Is Stereogum going to start covering every time a rapper says they’re the best now? This just seems like another excuse to shit on Donald Glover, which seems to be a lot of indie music bloggers’ favorite past time.

    • Agreed. Not to mention this was an actual freestyle. If there is any more appropriate or common place to boast about being the best and better than the rest than a rap song it’s a freestyle. They both expressed they were better than the rest by saying the they’d kill the others, but I’m sure Kendrick was the first to do that so yeah Donald is totally biting…in this just for fun freestyle.

    • A-men. I liked Because the Internet a lot and was totally confounded by the negative response it elicited from most indie bloggers and critics – if anything, it tried to move the genre into a weird, interesting place, if not always successfully. It does seem like everything CG’s done since then has come with a wave of derision. I think he probably doesn’t pass the “authenticity test,” and is therefore pushed to a status lower than his peers, but if that’s the case, I don’t get why Drake gets a pass. Do I think he’s better than Drake or Kendrick? Probably not. But is his music worthy of a bit more consideration and respect? I think so.

      As for this whole thing, my gut tells me it’s a self-conscious ploy to put himself in the ring with the weight class he thinks he’s in, but you never know.

  5. Hold up. The guy from Community raps? OWWWOOOOOOOOO!

  6. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

    • This is the thing: A lot of witty personalities could probably teach themselves to rap. Robin Williams is very spastic and talks fast. He could probably rap a lot of his jokes. But he doesn’t, because he knows that would be ridiculous and would not be taken seriously. Childish Gambino fails to make this same sort of sentiment. Just because you are clever does not mean you should rap.

  7. cast  |   Posted on Jul 28th -2

    Childish Cambino is wack as hell. The actor is clearly playing the part of the rapper. Too bad he doesn’t have any game/originality.

  8. So I’m guessing Chris Deville isn’t a fan? I’ll be honest, I actually haven’t heard enough of Lamar’s stuff to comment, but I prefer Gambino’s stuff to Drake. personal taste and all that eh?

  9. greggg  |   Posted on Jul 28th +11

    I don’t agree with Childish Gambino at all, but to make an article about it…? Statement articles like these are the equivalent of the early statement reviews of Pitchfork. Basically it gives of these embarassing, immature, bullheaded vendetta vibes.

    Also,
    “It’s not the first time Gambino has borrowed from K-Dot”

    Didn’t Kendrick most famously ride the coattails of Childish Gambino’s “You Know Me” beat with his Look Out For Detox freestyle? I wouldn’t say 3005 sounds like Hol’ Up anyway, though there are other songs of Donald that sound like other rappers. If you’re going for comparisons, you guys should make the obvious ones, I suppose if you’re going for that strawman argument.

    • Yeah, it is pretty funny that one of the songs that put people on to Kendrick was produced by Gambino. Or that he’s been rapping since before he was famous. And you’re right, 3005 sounds nothing like Hol’ Up and the only way it resembles Drake is that is features a black guy who normally raps singing.

      The massive hard on indie blogs have for Drake is getting pretty obnoxious really.

  10. I wouldn’t consider myself much of a Childish Gambino fan, but this article seems pretty silly. Control was a recorded and deliberate verse on a track that also featured fucking Jay Electronica. This was Donald rapping at a show in Australia. Comparing the weight of the two is kind of silly, and as has been mentioned previously, just seems like an excuse to shit on someone this sect of the Internet seems to enjoy shitting on.

  11. These Gambino defenders coming out of the woodwork need to lie down on a bed of downy feathers and rich silk sheets. You know, something cloying and soft that’ll remind them of their favorite rapper.

    • Ur favorite rapper is tuffer/more ‘street’ than mine. Proud of u bro. How do I get to ur lvl?

      In other news, my dad can beat up ur dad, the school I attended’s sports’ program is better than the sports’ program of the school you attended and my grandpa killed more foreigners than ur grandpa in WWII.

      Riff Raff wins btw.

      • We take more drugs than a touring funk band. Sing it.

      • Actually I don’t even listen to very much hardcore street rap at all. My favorite is Chance the Rapper, no one would call him hard by any stretch of the imagination. But Chance is Big Lurch compared to Childish Gambino. Dude is a walking dryer sheet commercial. Everything he does is narrated by Zach Braff.

    • I don’t think Drake is their favorite rapper though.

  12. 3005 sounds nothing like Hol’ Up whatsoever, except for the fact he does in fact say the words “Hol up” but I digress.

    Nonetheless, Glover (CG) is still brutal to listen to. If I was a teenager maybe I’d love it, but unfortunately I’m a grown man who isn’t tickled pink by 7 million juvenile references to blowjobs and weak as hell tough guy talk, interspersed with thousands of tired twitter-rap analogies. And dear god, stop with the tortured artist schtick.

    It’s all just really embarrassing. And this video if about as “freestyle” as Eminem in 8 mile.

    • Spaghetti, spaghetti. OWWWOOOOOOOOO!

    • To be fair you are an adorable pink pokemon so this seems to be more of an identity crisis on your part that anything. Also you never know, but i say the video is freestyle. When you freestyle common lines always pop into your mind here and there and he was just jamming with the music for a while not really being very fluid so I don’t think it was very prepared. I think the other guy wasn’t freestyling for sure but I think Gambino was.

  13. Run, Chris, ruuuuuun.

  14. He is. He’s better than ‘pac and ‘ig… and ‘ig l too. Not sure why he didn’t mention that.

    • Holy issssh. Just listened. Think he cemented his place in The History Of The Rap Game with his followup line.

      “G*D D*MN M*THA F**KA I’M… ILL”

  15. Give it a rest. This is what rappers do, particularly when they freestyle. It’s only news because critics and bloggers need clickbait.

    No rapper has ever gone on stage and said, “I’m top 15, easy! Probably even top 12! I dunno, it depends on what you’re into, this stuff is subjective!”

  16. I don’t like Gambino, but Hol’ Up is a terrible, terrible song , that first verse is almost painful to listen his rhymes are so forced and awkward. 3005 is much better. Speaking on Kendrick, Good Kid, Maad City is definitely a really good album, but I just do not get how everyone has just unilaterally decided that Kendrick is “the best rapper alive,” he just seems to be a very solid rapper with a great ear for production, rather than an amazing MC.

    • I think it’s probably the reverse of that. He’s an amazing MC with an OK ear for production and no production talent himself, right? Agree on GKMC. Great album, but certainly not perfect. “Backseat Freestyle” and “Money Trees” are undeniable classics IMO, and Bitch//Art/mAAd city/Swimming Pools/Sing About Me are are all jams. That’s the album for you. “Poetic Justice” hasn’t aged well, “Real” & “Sherane” are forgettable at best and “Compton” shouldn’t even count. That’s a pretty great hits-to-misses rate, but not best-in-the-last-5/10-years level. I guess it gets graded on the debut album sliding scale, which is fine but inaccurate. Section 80 has enough of lyrical clunkers on it that christening him as the best MC alive seems premature. If anything, his guest spots post-GKMC are what have completely blown me away. Nosetalgia/Control/Collard Greens/1-Train/Problems are all next level. But…”Radioactive” and that “Spiderman” turd?

      Pretty fun to think about how stacked the rookie rap universe is right now, though. TDE just killing it with Schoolboy/K.Dot/Isaiah Rashad(!!!!)/hopefully Jay Rock. Then Danny/Earl/A$AP Rocky/Chance/Vic/YG.

  17. *Kendrick’s rhymes

  18. personally i would’ve put kendrick before drake in this headline. y’know?

  19. ion really like him but this is article’s a bit petty nah?

  20. Hey, Chris – want people to take your opinions about rap seriously? Maybe spend less time pushing Coldplay and Paramore, write-up the new Shabazz Palaces or something like that.

  21. //I’m the best rapper, definitely top 5//

    If you’re going to boast about being the greatest, go with it. Don’t temper your bravado with “Well, OK, maybe there are 3 or 4 guys who are better, but gosh darnit, I’m going to kill them anyway!”

  22. Less of this. More of Riff Raff.

  23. I wouldn’t put him anywhere near Kendrick or Drake, but Childish doesn’t deserve near as much of the hate that he gets. He’s an decent rapper who occasionally puts out a good/catchy song. Nothing more, nothing less.

  24. These comments are becoming a bit ridiculous. You all are saying that he lacks originality? Seriously? I mean he had one “catchy” radio hit on his entire album and that’s apparently the only one you all listened to because the rest of the album is like nothing anyone has ever done before. Every song has multiple layers, multiple sections, and have incredible things to say. He released a script for a film to go along with it just so people could attempt to understand the world his album was supposed to be putting us in. Could Kendrick write a screenplay? Do stand-up comedy? Act? Sing? That album was the type of project that makes you rethink all the other artists you are listening to. Just because he doesn’t fit in your box doesn’t make him lame, it means that he is, in fact, original.

    And hey cool writer on this website I’ve never heard of (I only clicked because the facebook link already sounded annoying enough to comment) are you seriously trying to say that he is copying off of Kendrick because he’s calling out rappers? Yeah Kendrick “invented” shit talking in the rap game. You’re right. Everything Gambino does is just a desperate attempt to be like Kendrick Lamar, is that what you honestly think? Like Gambino thinks back on his extremely successful life in every different Hollywood industry you could imagine and thinks, “ya know I really wish I could just rap and not be multi-talented”. I don’t understand. And clearly what you call “middle school” rapping compared to Kendrick’s is what we call Freestyling vs. Writing. Which I am positive you couldn’t imitate either way, but there is a huge difference.

    I’d just like to make it clear that before you really listen to an artist’s whole body of work you don’t really get where they are coming from. After hearing “swimming pools” I thought Kendrick Lamar was just a radio rapper, I didn’t even get what the song was really saying at first. Then I listened to MAAD city and I gained an incredible amount of respect for him. It takes studying an artist with some headphones on to really get where they are coming from. So if you are judging Gambino after listening to “3005″ and this freestyle, your ignorance is on an extremely high level. Listen to Because the Internet all the way through and tell me he is unoriginal. There’s no way.

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