This originally appeared on my Medium as Because the Internet.
Senior year of high school was a crazy confusing time for me. I wanted to appeal to different people and branch out. I wanted to share my time and interests with other people. The ‘friends’ I had been associating with were not doing it for me and I was feeling pretty lonely. However, music was my escape from most things, especially music that only I listened to. Instead of driving to school, because I was lazy and did not want to pay for gas, I took the bus. The trip to school from home was about 20 minutes. The ride was a great opportunity to get lost in music. I didn’t talk to people on the bus, too too much.
I had been really into ‘CAMP’ from Childish Gambino, once I learned Troy from Community could rap. There was something really cool about this dude that I was instantly attracted to. He could rap, write, sing, act, whatever. A multidiscipline BLACK artist, fact I did not appreciate until later. Admittedly, I don’t remember the timeline of me listening experiencing the album project. I remember no one else who I was trying to be around did not care for Childish Gambino, like I did, and I think Old by Danny Brown was coming out around the same time. I remember listening to the album on Spotify on repeat and literally taking time out to read the script and following the subreddit and Gambino’s tweets. Not only was this thing mine, it was big.
‘Learn to code,’ one the thing the Gambino said over and over during the tour of the album. One stop was over by WordPress headquarters, I believe. He wanted kids to code because coding was and is the future. He had an app that complimented the tour where in realtime you could affect what was happening on a screen behind his performances. Something I had never seen. I was previously pretty bummed I did not go to any of the shows. The project had a 72 page script on a website becausetheinter.net (the actual domain is down after the social media blackout). It had visuals plus instructions to play music with the story. Also, he was in character the whole time as ‘The Kid.’ When he released an music video he had a costume that, when he was doing an interview he would be wearing the same thing. Needless to say, Childish was doing the most. I didn’t appreciate it nearly as much as I do now when it comes to approaching music projects.
Because The Internet was an escape for all the lost kids and the future of music. Childish Gambino created a world with his project and it went underappreciated and underrated (see: Pitchfork’s 5.8 score, Outkast’s initial reaction, his niche following). Proof of the foreshadowing is the creepy resemblance to more popular current artists releases (Kanye West), however Gambino has probably done more with that project then any artist I has seen in recent history. It was a whole world: website, script, videos, tour, tour photos, interviews. You could temporarily live in it following everything. I also grew up a little with this album about two or three years it has been available for me to listen and after the first binge I couldn’t listen to it too much because exhaustion, but on and off I would listen. I never was a lyrics person, until more recently and, combined with his interviews, he is expressing everything I want and need out of an artist, or more so a person; traits I want to identify with and feelings I identify with. I don’t think adults would fuck with this project as closely as the kids would.
This was an existential project: this dude has no idea what to do in life, what the answers are, and knows other people feel the same way but aren’t saying anything. I feel like honesty and openness are the only way we are going to grow as people now more than ever so about three years later this project is more relevant than ever. We got to be for each other and ourselves. The future is for the kids, and this project was like a time capsule ready to be opened when ready. It’s up to us to determine what we want from the future, up to us to share our feeling and inspire other’s to do the same.