Sunday, December 25, 2011

The Top 100 Songs of 2011 -- #35: "Heartbeat" -- Childish Gambino

Donald Glover: one of the most polarizing figures in hip-hop. Who'd've thunk it?

One side finds Glover, under the rap alter ego Childish Gambino, one of the genre's fresh new faces, and a talented one at that. Others? Joke rap, degrading toward women, take your pick.

Whatever people's opinion on Gambino, he was definitely one of the biggest names in rap for the final quarter of 2011. Camp was acclaimed by many, unless you write for Pitchfork. Sometimes it was hilarious ("You See Me"), sometimes introspective ("That Power"), sometimes raucous ("Bonfire"). And then there's "Heartbeat."

Featuring spitfire rhymes and Drake-esque vocals, Gambino tells the tale of a girl he used to be with exclusively. These days, they're apart, but still come together for the occasional rendezvous. A love song it ain't.

This all is over a quick electronic beat, seemingly ready-made for radio play. Whether that actually happens is yet to be seen, but one thing's for sure -- Gambino came out swinging on his debut major label release, and it'll be fun to see what he can do in years to come, given that he stays relevant and in the public eye.

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