Complex Magazine – Know The Ledge Excerpt
[On the structure of life and not appearing as much in Community]
I get it, it gives life structure. You come home every day and Abed’s in front of you and when Troy’s not there it’s like, ‘Where the fuck is my structure!?’ I get it. But it’s time, man.
[On evolving as an artist]
Even while delivering the heralded “Pound Cake” freestyle, nine days after posting his notes on Instagram, Gambino flaunted his insecurities. “So nerdy but the flow wordy,” he rapped, but he still impressed Sway. “Folks are sleeping on him, because they seen him on TV first,” says the veteran hip-hop DJ. They think he’s corny or they don’t give him a shot. As he continues to evolve he’s differentiating himself from the others. He does that thing where he stops rapping and starts talking and then comes back on beat. That’s his signature. I like rappers who find ways to differentiate themselves. Patterns are all repetitious now—motherfuckers even rhyming the same words."
According to Sway, the difference between an Internet rapper and a real MC is “tangibility.” Internet rappers might move a lot of free downloads but they can’t translate IRL. “Gambino’s beyond an Internet rapper because I’ve been to his shows and I’ve seen them sold out,” he says. While Donald claims to not care about record sales (his 2011 album, Camp, released on Glassnote Records, sold over 240,000 copies), he clearly wants to fill arenas, not college auditoriums. “My music is for everybody,” he says. “It’s stuff I like, but it’s also accessible. I don’t want to be preaching to the choir. You see a lot of these conscious rappers doing that. They’re not gaining new fans, they’re just agreeing with people. I want to reach as many people as I possibly can.”
[On the internet]
Some people take the name Because the Internet as a joke — a snarky comment that could be the caption to a meme. But to Donald, it’s more than that. The Internet has shaped the way he views the world, the way he relates to people, and the way he creates and disseminates his art.
“I want to show how the Internet affects our lives,” he says. “As much as everyone can find someone on the Internet now, we still feel lost. I still feel very empty. It makes me feel more lost because nothing that I do is that different. Nothing is cool. We’re kind of alone in the universe. Like those Instagram notes I shared. We all feel these things, but nobody’s figured out how to solve them.”
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