Since his return to late-night TV, Arsenio Hall has had his finger firmly on the pulse of hip-hop. Following performances from the likes of Nas, Kendrick Lamar, and ASAP Rocky, not to mention an intriguing sit-down with Tyler, the Creator, Hall continued the streak by welcoming Donald Glover, a.k.a. Childish Gambino, in to the Dog Pound last night.
Looking like he just walked out of a Williamsburg vegan bakery, Glover discussed a number of topics, including the inaccurate reports that he left Community to focus on rapping (“You can put whatever you want on the Internet. People think I’m still Donald Glover’s son. But no one wants to just be a rapper. Rapper’s don’t wanna be a rappers. All the ones I know wanna be artists.”) He also touched on our shared obsession with nostalgia, the rampant creative opportunities available for young people, and the importance of learning coding and 3D printing (“It’s like keyboarding when we were kids: you’re gonna use it.”)
Perhaps most interestingly, though, Glover addressed his recent open letter posted Instagram, where he made several revelations about his emotional health and his hopes and fears for the future. According to Glover, he had no idea it’d become so controversial, adding, “I just wanted to write stuff down. I care about what people think. You should; if someone sneezes in your face, it shouldn’t be ‘ah, it wasn’t on me.’ You should care about what other people think. That’s what connects us. I wanna do the best I can, but sometimes I’m weird and insecure and awkward about stuff. Everyone’s so afraid of being misunderstood, but it’s going to happen.”
Then, all while remaining firmly seated next to Arsenio, Glover brought out Thundercat to debut a brand new song from his forthcoming sophomore album, Because The Internet (due out December 10th via Glassnote Records). Despite its slightly metal-sounding title, “Shadows” is one of the funkier and fun-loving album cuts unfurled thus far (even more so than “Worldstar”). With Thundercat laying down a slick bassline, Glover mixes introspection with more Camp-esque playfulness (“Pop pills at the Coachella/Head in the weeds, man I can’t tell her/The fear that I feel it might kill her”.) Watch the replay below.