Tag Archives: Television

Gambino Is A Mastermind: Rapper Childish Gambino Hits UCONN 10/25/12

I had never heard of the rapper Childish Gambino up until about two months ago. But, after hearing only a few songs, I could tell he was more talented than your average rapper. As I listened to his album, Camp in closer detail, I also came to notice that he wasn’t just talented in his rapping style but also in his lyrics. Childish Gambino, also known as Donald Glover, is a writer, comedian and actor in addition to being a rapper. He has appeared on and written for shows such as 30 Rock, Community, and Parks and Recreation. Evidently, Donald Glover has some pretty impressive writing skills. His rhymes are so unbelievably clever and it’s almost impossible to not be jealous of this quadruple threat.

At the University of Connecticut, the concert committee on campus, SUBOG, announced in late September that the performer for the fall concert would be Childish Gambino. Every single floor seat for the concert sold out in under 3 hours. I was so unbelievably excited to see him live after hearing how incredible he is in person. It is safe to say that Childish Gambino did not disappoint.

A rapper named XV started the show off and really got the entire crowd hyped up. He engaged the audience immediately and interacted with everyone during each song. XV definitely had a lot of stage presence and was rather reminiscent of Kid Cudi at times with his quirky beats and unconventional writing style. I highly recommend checking out his newest EP called Awesome EP!, which features Pusha- T on the title track.

As soon as XV left the stage, everyone started chanting, “GAM-BI-NO!”. Then, the lights dimmed and the crowd went absolutely insane. Gambino took center stage surrounded by his band. I have been to many rap concerts before. Most recently was the “Watch the Throne” tour with Kanye West and Jay-Z, but I had never seen a band play with a rapper before. Gambino’s band consisted of a drummer, violinist, pianist, guitarist, and a very skilled bassist. This element truly brought a unique feel to his set. Childish Gambino rapped his most famous songs including “Bonfire,” “Fire Fly,” “You See Me,” “Heartbeat,” and “Freaks and Geeks” to name a few. He also played a handful of new songs that everyone went crazy for. Childish Gambino is a performer and an incredible one at that. My personal favorite part of the show was when he went a cappella and started freestyling. I would definitely recommend checking out all of Childish Gambino’s albums, EPs, and mix-tapes  including his album Camp and his latest mix-tape, Royalty.

Brilliant and talented rappers are hard to come by nowadays, but Childish Gambino is definitely only going to start receiving more recognition and acclaim as his fan base expands. No one quite says it better than Gambino himself in “Bonfire” when he asks the age-old question: “Why does every black actor gotta rap some?” to which he responds, “I don’t know, all I know is I’m the best one.” Childish Gambino is the shit. No humblebrag.

-B. Greenberg

Becca Greenberg is a freshman at the University of Connecticut studying Human Rights and Political Science. She is an actress and singer/songwriter from New York City. She is a big country music fan but loves rap, classic rock, and indie.

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Dark Horse: American Idol’s Elise Testone

Over the years American Idol has put out some great talent, including one of my favorite artists Chris Daughtry. I stopped watching the show a couple of years ago due to the negativity of Simon Cowell. Naturally when Steven Tyler became a judge, I watched eagerly as Aerosmith is my all-time favorite band. Overall I think Idol has improved tremendously and think Tyler and the beautiful Jennifer Lopez are great judges, that encapsulate the tough love that judges should give instead of the harsh criticisms of seasons past.

 I was surprised this season to see a real dark horse make it into the final rounds. This dark horse is Elise Testone. Elise encapsulates the best parts of rock, soul, and pop to create a full voice that has many nuances. One does not pick up on these nuances until they listen closely but, they’re there.  To me Elise Testone is one of the only artists on the show. I say this because she seems to have real passion and fire. She also has one thing most of the other contestants don’t, the ability to confident without showboating. The way she moves is like a singer that’s been playing arenas since the mid 70’s. The best part is, it’s all natural, and her stage presence is not forced like many of the other Idols. She knows who she is, and this is what makes her my choice to win no only the competition but to have a very long career.

            Since the beginning we’ve seen Elise do her thing whether it was when she performed ‘Virual Insanity’ by Jamiriquoi during Hollywood week, when she wowed the judges, or  two weeks ago when she performed a stunning arrangement of Billy Joel’s ‘Vienna’. She’s never made any major missteps; in fact as most of the other performers are starting to fizzle out she’s gotten stronger. Last week she proved to everyone that she was the performer to aspire to, when she did a rousing rendition of Led Zeppelin’s 1969 Classic ‘Whole Lotta Love’. Not only was the song perfect for her, but she took a song that is almost impossible to sing without dishonoring the original performance. Elise took the bull by the horns and put her own interesting twist on it showing many of the nuances of her voice and threw in some of Robert Plant’s famous “Baby, baby, baby” moans, something that most people who cover Led Zeppelin sound awful doing, but Elise pulled it off. As Stevie Nick’s said in the mentoring session “Don’t change a thing” high praise from someone who has sold over 100 million records.

But the highest praise of the night was from Steven Tyler, American Idols rock guru when he said “I wasn’t sure how you were going to pull that off. ‘Cause no one can pull that off song. You made Robert Plant proud”. Steven Tyler knows this very well because in 2009 he was in the running to join Led Zeppelin (or a variant of Led Zeppelin) as a replacement for Plant. Steven has also taken on the hard task of covering Led Zeppelin, in fact the one of the first songs Aerosmith played live to a crowd was Zeppelin’s ‘Good Times Bad Times’.

I believe that with this performance Elise has earned herself a spot in at least the top three where I believe she’ll be joined by Colton Dixon and Phillip Phillips. But what I hope for Ms. Testone is not only a victory in the competition but, a long career in the entertainment industry.

Check Out her performance of Led Zeppelin’s 1969 Classic Whole Lotta Love’ below:

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