Camp (album)

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Studio album by Childish Gambino
Released November 15, 2011
Recorded 2011
Genre Hip hop
Length 56:06
Label Glassnote, Universal
Producer Childish Gambino, Ludwig Göransson
Childish Gambino chronology
Singles from Camp
  1. "Bonfire"
    Released: September 17, 2011
  2. "Heartbeat"
    Released: April 23, 2012
  3. "Fire Fly"
    Released: July 24, 2012

Camp is the debut studio album by American rapper Childish Gambino, released on November 15, 2011, by Glassnote Records.[1] After releasing four mixtapes and three albums independently, he signed to Glassnote and recorded Camp,[2] his first album on a major record label.[3] Camp was co-produced in its entirety by long-time collaborator Ludwig Göransson.


The track "Hold You Down" uses a sample from the "Slow Moon" theme in the 1992 video game soundtrack for Streets of Rage 2, originally composed by chiptune composer Yuzo Koshiro.[4]

Release and promotion[edit]

The album was made available for pre-order on iTunes on November 1.[5] On the same day, the music video for Bonfire was released through his website and YouTube.[6] The album was made available in its entirety for streaming on on November 6.[7]

The album's lead single, "Bonfire" was debuted on Funkmaster Flex's Hot 97 radio show on September 17, 2011.[8] "Heartbeat" was released as the second single and reached 18 on the Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 - the song was released as the first official single from the album in the UK on April 23, 2012.[9] On July 24, 2012, the music video for "Fire Fly" was released on VEVO.[10] On January 9, 2013, Childish Gambino released his latest video from Camp, "L.E.S." The song’s title is an acronym for the Lower East Side of the New York City borough of Manhattan, the location of the video shoot.[11] Photographer Ibra Aka directed and filmed the video over “several nights” on the streets of the Lower East Side, in front of places like Pianos, and riding in cabs around the district;[11] but not once does Gambino appear himself.[12] While on tour in the summer of 2012, Gambino played this video in the background while he performed "L.E.S." onstage.[13]


Critical response[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[14]
Alternative Press 4.5/5 stars[15]
Robert Christgau A–[16]
The Guardian 2/5 stars[17]
The Independent 4/5 stars[18]
Mojo 4/5 stars[19]
Pitchfork Media 1.6/10[20]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[21]
Slant Magazine 3/5 stars[22]
Spin 6/10[23]

Camp received generally positive reviews from music critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the album received an average score of 69, based on 27 reviews.[24] Barry Nicolson of NME dubbed it "the hip-hop album of the year" and commended Gambino's "focus on being [...] witty, heartfelt, honest and occasionally uproarious."[25] Steve Lepore of PopMatters found the album to be "undoubtedly one of the best records of any genre to come out in 2011" and characterized it as "a juxtaposition of mostly depressing, self-loathing rap mixed with some of the most enjoyable post-Graduation music."[26] In his consumer guide for MSN Music, Robert Christgau complimented its "choral and orchestral movie music" and stated, "it's less surefire than Culdesac. But it's more satisfying emotionally, because the autobiography reaches deep".[16] Mojo stated, "The identity-crisis themed Camp trumps through whip-smart intelligence, comic brio and bristling malign intent."[19] AllMusic editor David Jeffries commended Gambino for "taking indie hip-hop to new levels" and called the album "remarkable".[14]

Evan Rytlewski of The A.V. Club was more critical, stating "Camp is heavy with themes of racial expectations and cultural ostracism—big ideas that aren’t always done justice by Glover's cartoonishly exaggerated, one-liner-laden flow."[27] Mosi Reeves of Spin found the album to be "a bit of a mess. It veers wildly from poignant emotions to maudlin histrionics, often in the same song."[23] Pitchfork Media's Ian Cohen stated, "While Glover's exaggerated, cartoonish flow and overblown pop-rap production would be enough to make Camp one of the most uniquely unlikable rap records of this year (and most others), what's worse is how he uses heavy topics like race, masculinity, relationships, street cred, and 'real hip-hop' as props to construct a false outsider persona.".[28] Claire Suddath of Time criticized Gambino for "bragging about all of the girls he's banged" too often, but complimented his "catchy, danceable sound very much akin to that of Kanye West" and stated, "Ultimately, Camp is a skillful album created by a conflicted man ... But if Camp doesn't have a motif maybe that's because [he] doesn't have one either. He acts, he writes, he still does stand-up, and yes, he also raps. Some people can't be put into a box that easily."[29]

Commercial performance[edit]

In the United States, the album debuted at number 11 on the Billboard 200 with 52,000 copies sold in its first week released.[30] As of November 2013, the album has sold 242,000 copies according to Nielsen SoundScan.[31]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks were written and produced by Donald "Childish Gambino" Glover and Ludwig Göransson.

No. Title Length
1. "Outside"   4:30
2. "Fire Fly"   3:24
3. "Bonfire"   3:13
4. "All the Shine"   5:46
5. "Letter Home"   1:44
6. "Heartbeat"   4:31
7. "Backpackers"   3:16
8. "L.E.S."   5:19
9. "Hold You Down"   4:53
10. "Kids (Keep Up)"   4:57
11. "You See Me"   3:15
12. "Sunrise"   3:40
13. "That Power"   7:38
Total length:


  • Donald Glover – composer, design, drum programming, producer, programming, string arrangements, vocals
  • Ludwig Göransson – composer, drum programming, engineer, guitar, keyboards, producer, programming
  • Erik Arvinder – string arrangements, violin
  • Bryan Carrigan – engineer
  • Thomas Drayton – bass
  • Chris Fogel – mixing
  • Shepard – drum programming, guitar, producer
  • Janet Leon – vocals ("Fire Fly")
  • Ryan McClure – engineer, mixing
  • Vlado Meller – mastering
  • Questlove - drums
  • Whitney Wood – choir, chorus, soloist
  • Chris Scully – art direction, layout
  • Ibra Ake – photography


Chart (2011–13) Peak
Australian Albums Chart[32] 99
Australian Hitseeker Albums Chart[32] 7
Australian Urban Albums Chart[32] 19
Canadian Albums Chart[33] 22
UK R&B Albums Chart[34] 29
US Billboard 200[35] 11
US Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums[36] 2
US Top Rap Albums[37] 2


  1. ^ "Childish Gambino 'Camp' Tracklist Revealed". Rapdose. Retrieved 2011-10-13. 
  2. ^ DiCrescenzo, Brent (August 2, 2012). "Donald Glover as Childish Gambino". Time Out (Chicago). Retrieved November 11, 2012. 
  3. ^ Lachno, James (August 6, 2012). "New Faces: Childish Gambino". The Daily Telegraph (London). Retrieved November 11, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Childish Gambino's Hold You Down sample of Yuzo Koshiro's Slow Moon". WhoSampled. Retrieved 26 March 2012. 
  5. ^ "Twitter / @DonaldGlover". Retrieved 2011-11-01. 
  6. ^ "iamdonald". Retrieved 2011-11-06. 
  7. ^ "DRAKE SET TO TAKE THE CAKE". Hits Daily Double. Retrieved 2011-11-18. 
  8. ^ "Check Out: Childish Gambino – "Bonfire"". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 2011-10-13. 
  9. ^ "UK Forthcoming Singles". Retrieved 2012-03-17. 
  10. ^}
  11. ^ a b "Childish Gambino Drops Music Video for "L.E.S." [VIDEO]". Retrieved 2013-03-20. 
  12. ^ "Childish Gambino Surfaces With Visuals For "L.E.S."". Retrieved 2013-03-20. 
  13. ^ "Childish Gambino – "L.E.S." [VIDEO]". Retrieved 2013-03-20. 
  14. ^ a b "Camp - Childish Gambino". AllMusic. Retrieved 2011-11-18. 
  15. ^ Heisel, Scott (November 15, 2011). "Childish Gambino - Camp". Alternative Press. Retrieved 2012-06-05. 
  16. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (December 30, 2011). "Childish Gambino". MSN Music. MSN. Retrieved 2012-06-05. 
  17. ^ MacInnes, Paul (December 1, 2011). "Childish Gambino: Camp – review". The Guardian (Guardian News and Media Limited). Film & music section, p. 11. Retrieved 2012-06-05. 
  18. ^ Gill, Andy (November 18, 2011). "Album: Childish Gambino, Camp (Glassnote/Island)". The Independent (Independent Print Limited). Retrieved 2012-06-05. 
  19. ^ a b "Review: Camp". Mojo (London): 90. January 2012. 
  20. ^ Cohen, Ian. "Childish Gambino: Camp". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2011-12-01. 
  21. ^ Herrera, Monica (November 15, 2011). "Camp". Rolling Stone (Jann S. Wenner). Retrieved 2012-06-05. 
  22. ^ Cataldo, Jesse. "Childish Gambino: Camp". Slant Magazine. Retrieved 2012-06-05. 
  23. ^ a b Reeves, Mosi (November 15, 2011). "Childish Gambino, 'Camp' (Glass Note)". Spin (New York). Retrieved November 11, 2012. 
  24. ^ "Critic Reviews for Camp". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 1 December 2011. 
  25. ^ Nicolson, Barry (November 18, 2011). "Album Review: Childish Gambino - 'Camp'". NME (IPC Media). Retrieved 2012-06-05. 
  26. ^ Lepore, Steve (November 23, 2011). "Childish Gambino: Camp". PopMatters. Retrieved 2012-06-05. 
  27. ^ Childish Gambino: Camp | Music | Music Review | The A.V. Club
  28. ^ Childish Gambino: Camp | Album Reviews | Pitchfork
  29. ^ Suddath, Claire (November 14, 2011). "Review: Community Star Donald Glover Raps as Childish Gambino on New Album 'Camp'". Time (Time Inc.). Retrieved 2012-06-05. 
  30. ^ Hip Hop Album Sales: The Week Ending 11/20/2011 | Get The Latest Hip Hop News, Rap News & Hip Hop Album Sales | HipHop DX
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  32. ^ a b c "ARIA Report – Week Commencing 28th January 2013". ARIA Charts. Pandora Archive. Retrieved February 14, 2013. 
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  34. ^ "2011 Top 40 R&B Albums Archive". Official Charts Company. UK R&B Chart. Retrieved July 14, 2014. 
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