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Album Review: Childish Gambino's Poindexter

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Childish Gambino. Photo via ChildishGambino.com

Whether or not you really ever believed Hip Hop was Dead, there’s no denying the changes it’s undergone in the past decade. Bass-y beats and mean muggin’ thug rhyme runners are so cliche they’ve become a caricature of themselves; how else can you explain 50 Cent having his own video game? So where does a real hip hop head turn? Like an ostrich: underground.

There’s the nerdcore movement, with thick-frame posterboy MC Frontalot. There’s a steadily growing white midwestern influence, with guys like Mac Lethal in Kansas City and the whole Minneapolis crew, not least of which is Atmosphere and Brother Ali. And then there’s the Kid Cudi types, Kanye 2.0’s who rock Converse and KidRobot hoodies. For these guys, hip hop has gone from mean streets to Melrose, with a quick stop along the NYC/LA rooftop party DJ scene. And while Cudi is perhaps the most recognizable face in this new wave of high-end high-brow hip hop, he’s definitely not alone - and he isn’t even the best. Allow me to introduce Childish Gambino.