Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Childish Gambino: Camp [Glassnote, 2011]
His seventh hip-hop longform--including the 2011 EP and two mixtapes where he rhymes inconclusively over indie-rock loops--is his most official, on quality bizzer Daniel Glass's indie label. Unified by choral and orchestral movie music for "the only black kid at a Sufjan concert," it's less surefire than Culdesac. But it's more satisfying emotionally, because the autobiography reaches deep: "My dad works nights, puttin' on a stone face/He's savin' up so we can get our own place/In the projects, man, that sound fancy to me/They call me fat-nose my mom say, 'You handsome to me'." Nevertheless, this black kid who got called "faggot" plenty--only "spell it right/I got way more than two G's"--still wants to make sure you know how much he gets laid. Fact is, in a textbook case of nerd-gets-famous syndrome, he almost certainly gets laid too much. But later for that. Master of the alphabet though he long has been, his big message is that work comes before women. A-