|And the less we say about this situation, the better.|
In the interest of full disclosure, I wasn't initially blown away by what I heard ("I Be On That"). I don't think it was until the sick "Rolling in the Deep" remix that I really started taking the idea of Childish Gambino seriously. Still, the more of Glover's work I found, the more convinced I was that he should just focus on his acting and writing, and give up on the music. But after having seen him in two live performances, and as his music has matured and improved considerably, I think I'm revising my opinion.
The reason I call him a consummate rapper-slash actor is that he actually uses his training as an actor and comedian to inform his musical performances. Rather than taking on one persona - smug jokester, aloof materialist, faux bad-ass - you can see him acting through all of his lines for maximum impact.
He winces while recalling an awkward memory, scoffs at his own attempts to make himself sound cooler, and gets angry at hypothetical haters. He controls and displays his vulnerability with just marvelous skill. In some cases it doesn't entirely work, e.g. when he claims that nobody wants to admit they like him (??). But he fucking nails the roles of a bitter ex and a boastful upstart in a way that more than makes up for his shaky Drake impression.
As his acting skills have strengthened and developed, so have his musical and performance skills. It's actually been a delight to watch that happen over the past year, similar to how it's been to see Ryan Gosling and Joseph Gordon-Levitt's careers develop after having fallen in love with them at the age of 7. And I'm pretty excited to see what he does next, whether it's as Donald Glover the actor or Childish Gambino the rapper.