I became aware of Donald Glover when I watched the Dan Harmon show, Community. In already strong cast including Joel McHale, Chevy Chase, and Alison Brie, he managed to do something that would be next to impossible for even a seasoned actor: he stood out from the crowd.
I assumed there had to be more to this man than his comedic timing, and after a bit of a deep dive, I quickly learned that I was right. Frankly, to know Donald Glover is to love him. Glover is a triple threat — he writes, he acts, and he sings. Wait, did I say triple? Because, yeah, he does more than that.
If you’re already a fan of his then you know about his FX show Atlanta, which he’s directed and produced. In addition to, you know, that little part where he also created the entire show. The man has talent oozing out of his pores, and even if you aren’t a fan of what he does on the small screen, it’s hard to deny the captivating quality of Childish Gambino lyrics.
If I was still in junior high, chances are I’d be inking Childish Gambino (his handle on all Hip Hop projects) lyrics all over my journal, and in gel pen no less. From political issues, to matters of the heart, and to everything in between, Childish Gambino speaks to experiences so specific, that they, in turn, become universal.
His words work their way into your brain, and once they’re in there, they aren’t going anywhere. If you aren’t sure you agree, that opinion is going to change when you check out these 15 stellar Childish Gambino song lyrics and quotes.
1. “Les,” Camp
We could pretend if you want to, like
We in love and started datin’ at your art school
‘Cause, either way, we both lyin’ more than half to the time
Nobody nails wistful longing and chilling irony the way Gambino does. He sets a scene and demolishes it, along with your heart.
2. “Zombies,” Awaken My Love
All I see is zombies
Walking all around us
You can hear them
You can hear them breathing
Breathing down your spine
Zombies aren’t just supernatural creatures, they are all around us, they just look different than we expected, and that’s captured beautifully here.
3. “Heartbeat,” Camp
I miss the sex when you kiss whenever you through
Sixty-nine is the only dinner for two
I was wrong, but would you have listened to you?
I got a heart, but the artichoke is the only thing girls want when you in that smoke
I will always cherish Gambino’s lyrical gifts. He can be cutting and cruel, and dirty and lovesick all at once, and it’s so relatable.
4. “Crawl,” Because The Internet
And I still put it down like the family dog
Yeah I murder some, I murder one
Explain it all, Ferguson
We ain’t gotta sing the same old love song
Cut a white girl with that same black glove
It takes a lot of chutzpah to rap about the issues facing black America, but Gambino does it with aplomb and awareness. Other rappers? Take note.
5. “Flight Of The Navigator,” Because The Internet
I talked to some birds, I fell in love again, and none of this ever ended
Everything just kept going, and going, and going.
And even when you laughed, you cried
And when you were sad, you were really happy
‘Cause you were her
And I got to meet every star, every planet, everything that made me
And we all kissed and became the same
We became the same
We became the same
These lyrics are heartbreakingly romantic, and if you don’t feel that reading them it maaaaay be time for you to check your pulse. Just saying!
6. “Freaks & Geeks,” Camp
The beat is witches brew, but beware that s*** is potent
E.E Cummin’ on her face, now that’s poetry
Yeah, Gambino make it work, I’m the boss move somethin’
The man literally talks about semen as a play on words using the name of a prominent 20th Century poet. I mean… go home everyone else. It’s all been done now.
7. “3005,” Because The Internet
I used to care what people thought, but now I care more
I mean, nobody out here’s got it figured out
So, therefore, I’ve lost all hope of a happy ending
Bleak but boppable? Yeah, he’s got that on lock.
8. “Les,” Camp
Like, you ain’t livin’ out in BK
Like, you ain’t workin’ on a screenplay
Like, your baby daddy ain’t a DJ
Like, she listenin’ to old Freeway
We all know exactly the kind of person he’s talking about here, but none of us could ever manage to capture it so flawlessly. ICE! He is relentless, brutal, smart, funny, sensitive, and somehow all of those things at once.
9. “Da Ya Like,” Culdesac
I’m in love with you
But this is not tennis
And baby stay stacked like she bad at Tetris
Mixing romantic confessions with geek-influenced references to breasts? A plus.
10. “Freaks & Geeks, EP
Black dudes assume I’m closeted or kinda gay
White people confused like girl on Glee and Gabourey
He’s aware of exactly who he is, and he’s aware that as a black artist, people are watching him. Childish Gambino is watching back!
11. “You See Me,” Camp
Naw n****, yeah, we never stop
No period like menopause
No period like, ‘Oh s***! Am I the only one you sleepin’ with?’
‘Am I the only one you sleepin’ with?’
We’ve all missed a period and bugged out about it. But the play on words — menses versus the passage of time — that’s not something most of us would put together in the form of a rhyme. All hail.
12. “Fire Fly,” Camp
Girls like, ‘We love you, we go to LSU
You gotta do a show so we can come and molest you.’
Can Gambino just stand up and accept his award for male ally already?
13. World Star, Because The Internet
She on Hollywood and Vine, thinkin’ that she Hollywood on Vine
Makin’ movies with her friends all the time
Showin’ off her ass, that’s a net twerk
But I saw through it like a wet shirt
Sure, you can call out a phony, but can you do it while referencing her twerking skills? I think not.
14. World Star, Because The Internet
Put shrooms in my roommate’s coffee
And got more likes than a white girl talking
I’ll be real: I get a lot of likes.
15. Sweatpants, Because The Internet
Hip deep in the Pepto, I got five on her like Ben Folds
I got more tail than that PetCo
You faker than some Sweet’N Low
I love the way he pulls in musical references from other artists, other genres, other eras, and manages to capture the spirit of old school hip hop rap battles!