Childish Gambino moves crowd with witty raps, high-energy performance
When Childish Gambino hit the Auditorium stage Wednesday night wearing a red hoodie bearing the words “Scouts Honor” and singing his hit “Outside,” few would have guessed he was the fun-loving, quirky and somewhat nerdy character Troy from the hit NBC show “Community.”
But the 28-year-old rapper, actor, writer and comedian, who offstage is known as Donald Glover, is no stranger to the rap game. He has been a part of the hip-hop scene since 2008. And when he rapped some of his most popular songs Wednesday night, he had almost everyone in the crowd on their feet.
“I thought it was absolutely remarkable,” said marketing and advertising freshman Grieg Swanson. “It was swagtastic, and it was everything I could have dreamt up.”
Childish Gambino’s high-energy show featured some of his most popular songs, such as “Firefly,” “Heartbeat” and “Freaks and Geeks,” which had audience members in the almost-full auditorium dancing and singing along.
Abigail Bhattacharyya, the director of public relations for the Residence Halls Association, which hosted the concert, said she thinks Childish Gambino speaks to the MSU student demographic.
“He’s a very talented artist with a very excellent following,” she said. “We’ve had artists like him come in the past, and the MSU student body seems to respond well. … Everyone’s really excited.”
Laughing and dancing with her group of friends before the show, global studies in the arts and humanities freshman Bonnie Hardin said she was really excited for Childish Gambino to hit the stage.
“I love Childish Gambino,” Hardin said. “I really like his lyrics because they’re witty and different, and I like all the stuff he did before he became a rapper.”
Like Hardin, packaging senior Marcus McDuffie, who watched the show from the fourth row, knew about Glover before his rapping career, and is a fan of more than just his music.
“His references are kind of ridiculous,” McDuffie said. “He’s very much into pop culture and the stuff that he drops, normal people wouldn’t really get. I like that.”
Swanson, who was introduced to Childish Gambino in 2011, said he has been “hooked on his beats” ever since and needed to see him perform live.
“I like how he’s multi-talented,” Swanson said. “He’s an intellectual mastermind, so I respect him for that.”
Opening the show for Childish Gambino was Dee Goodz, a rapper from Nashville, Tenn. Goodz said when he toured campus earlier in the day, he didn’t know what to expect from the crowd.
“It looked like there were rules here,” Goodz said. “I was like ‘Oh my gosh, they might not feel me today.’ But actually it was a great show.”
Goodz said the atmosphere of the show was like a club, which helped pump him up for the performance.
“Childish Gambino’s crowd is outstanding,” he said. “It was one of my best shows, I really appreciate ya’ll.”
Both Hardin and McDuffie said MSU was the perfect place to host a Childish Gambino concert because of the large rap fan base on campus.
“MSU is a big college, and I feel like a lot of people here listen to rap,” Hardin said. “I think this is his crowd.”