Best of Sasquatch 2012: Childish Gambino

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Childish Gambino, Photo by Kyle Johnson

If you’re like me and don’t watch much TV, it’s a possibility that you haven’t the slightest idea who Donald Glover is. The crowd at the Sasquatch main stage Saturday kept murmuring about Community or 30 Rock. I had listened to Childish Gambino’s rhymes, talking about being a rapper/actor, but I never put two and two together. Egg on my face. But if anyone had gone into his set expecting to see an actor trying to stretch his fame into a record deal, egg on your face. This was one of the most impressive hip hop performances of the weekend.

His set was drawn heavily from his album Camp and included ‘Firefly’ and ‘All The Shine’ as well as a few surprise new tracks. His shining moment was without a doubt during ‘Heartbeats.’ If you’re unfamiliar with the song, the video is below, and after you hear the lyrics you may understand better why it’s, so far, the best example of his talent as a rapper/writer. His rhymes are incredible, and made so much larger than life when they’re being repeated back to him by the packed pit in front of the stage.

He’s a cocky, confident performer strutting around the stage, but he backs it up with unbelievable talent. Camp is a great album, and shows a lot of promise for what Gambino’s potential is as a hip hop artist. And while the album is undeniably very polished and well put together, I was most interested to see how it would translate live. If you saw him dominate the Sasquatch stage Saturday, you probably agree that he’s not just another actor slash musician. He’s a rare performer who can reach across media divides based on how truly talented he is in his ventures. If you doubt that, let him prove it to you live with a microphone in his hand.

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