It was announced earlier this week that Childish Gambino, better known as Donald Glover of Atlanta and Community fame, is “retiring” his rap moniker after his soon to be released album drops.
At first, many in the hip hop community thought Donald Glover/Childish Gambino was retiring from music entirely, but upon further clarification, it appears he is simply retiring the name.
Why you ask? Because in his words:
“I feel like Childish Gambino is a period that should come to a close.”
It’s an interesting take from one that many consider to be the peak of millenial hip hop in today’s rap landscape. After all, Donald Glover not only raps, but sings…and oh by the way, writes, directs and stars in his own TV shows, and sometimes movies (Lando Calrissian anyone?). It reminds me of the last scene in Mad Men where Don (spoiler alert) closes his eyes and the Coke commercial music starts playing.
As far as his music career is concerned, Childish Gambino has never really been a top selling chart burner, like say a Drake or Kendrick Lamar. What he has done though, is gain recognition from many in the hip hop community for being not only lyrical, but thoughtful on his commentary as well. And if you haven’t done so already, check out his most recent album, “Awaken, My Love!” if you really want to hear some next level sh*t that will make you call D’angelo at 4am in the morning.
All this is to say that Donald Glover can basically do whatever the f*ck he wants, because at this point, he’s earned the trust and respect of his fans.
His announcement of retiring the Childish Gambino moniker is a subtly genius move, and should inspire any creative out there looking towards their next move.
You know, I like it when something’s good and when it comes back there’s a reason to come back, there’s a reason to do that.”
He added: “Like I feel like there’s gotta be a reason to do things and I always had a reason to be punk
As a creative, there has to be a reason to do something. And if the reason isn’t apparent to you right away, you should probably question why you’re doing it.
In movies, sequels are made to make money. However, rarely are these movie sequels truly original (with some exceptions, James Cameron’s Terminator 2, and Ridley Scott’s Aliens come immediately to mind). But if you’re making a sequel just to make it, you’re not really growing, evolving, or learning….which should be at the heart of every creative looking for originality. Otherwise, you’re on your 8th Transformers movie, killing the dreams of every kid who grew up in the 80’s (totally not me).
If you couldn’t tell by now, I’m a huge Childish Gambino/Donald Glover fan. He’s inspired me to think about my own work, as well as take on challenges that I might not have otherwise. His lesson about not doing something without a purpose, and ending chapters in your life I think is an important one.
One that I think I will take to heart, and so should you.
I’m not going to produce creative work that I don’t feel a purpose or connection to. Because then it’s not creative. It’s output.
After all, the British Office, Mad Men, and Breaking Bad (all classics) knew when to wrap things up. They ended things when it got they felt their story has been told.
The question is, do you?