Camp (album)

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Studio album by Childish Gambino
Released November 15, 2011
Recorded 2011
Genre Hip hop
Length 56:06
Childish Gambino chronology
Singles from Camp
  1. "Freaks and Geeks"
    Released: March 2, 2011
  2. "Bonfire"
    Released: September 17, 2011
  3. "Heartbeat"
    Released: April 23, 2012
  4. "Fire Fly"
    Released: July 24, 2012
  5. "L.E.S."
    Released: January 9, 2013

Camp is the debut studio album by American hip hop recording artist Childish Gambino. It was released on November 15, 2011, by Glassnote Records.[1] Upon Gambino's four mixtapes and three independent album releases, Gambino signed a deal to Glassnote,[2] marking it as his first album on a major record label.[3] Recording sessions took place over a course of the whole year, while Camp was co-produced in its entirety by Gambino's longtime collaborator Ludwig Göransson.

Camp received generally positive reviews from critics, debuting at number 11 on the Billboard 200, selling 52,000 copies in the first week.


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. On the same day, the music video for "Bonfire" was released through Gambino's website and YouTube.[5] The album was made available in its entirety for streaming on NPR on November 6.[6] Furthermore, on certain editions of the album it was accompanied with download tracks in the form of an EP titled "Camp Side D" with the popular track "Longest Text Message" as an exclusive.[7]


Before the album's release, Gambino released a 5-track EP with the lead single "Freaks and Geeks", which was later included on the deluxe edition.[8]

The album's second single, "Bonfire", was debuted on Funkmaster Flex's Hot 97 radio show on September 17, 2011.[9]

"Heartbeat" was released as the album's third single and reached 18 on the Billboard Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles, the song was released as the first official single from the album in the UK on April 23, 2012.[10] On July 24, 2012, the music video for the fourth single "Fire Fly" was released on Vevo.[11]

On January 9, 2013, 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.[12] Photographer Ibra Ake 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;[12] but not once does Gambino appear himself. While on tour in the summer of 2012, Gambino played this video in the background while he performed "L.E.S." onstage.[13]


Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
AnyDecentMusic? 6.7/10[14]
Metacritic 69/100[15]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[16]
The A.V. Club C+[17]
The Guardian 2/5 stars[18]
The Independent 4/5 stars[19]
Mojo 4/5 stars[20]
MSN Music A−[21]
Pitchfork 1.6/10[22]
Q 3/5 stars[23]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[24]
Spin 6/10[25]

Camp received generally positive reviews from 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.[15] 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."[26] 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."[27] 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".[21] Mojo stated, "The identity-crisis themed Camp trumps through whip-smart intelligence, comic brio and bristling malign intent."[20] AllMusic editor David Jeffries commended Gambino for "taking indie hip-hop to new levels" and called the album "remarkable".[16] 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."[17]

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."[25] Pitchfork'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."[22] 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."[28]

Commercial performance[edit]

In the United States, the album debuted at number 11 on the Billboard 200, selling 52,000 copies in the first week.[29] As of November 2013, the album has sold 242,000 copies according to Nielsen SoundScan.[30]

Track listing[edit]

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: 56:06


  • "Fire Fly" contains uncredited vocals from Janet Leon
  • "Sunrise" contains background vocals from Dean
  • "Not Going Back" contains uncredited vocals from Beldina Malaika



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


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  2. ^ DiCrescenzo, Brent (August 2, 2012). "Donald Glover as Childish Gambino". Time Out. Chicago. Archived from the original on June 18, 2013. 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. ^ "iamdonald". Archived from the original on November 8, 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-06. 
  6. ^ "HITS Daily Double". Hits Daily Double. Retrieved 2011-11-18. 
  7. ^ "Childish Gambino – Camp Side D (File, MP3) at Discogs". Discogs. Retrieved July 24, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Camp (Deluxe Version) by Childish Gambino". iTunes Store. Retrieved July 24, 2015. 
  9. ^ Young, Alex (September 18, 2011). "Check Out: Childish Gambino – "Bonfire"". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved October 13, 2011. 
  10. ^ "UK Forthcoming Singles". Archived from the original on 2012-05-12. Retrieved 2012-03-17. 
  11. ^ "YouTube". YouTube. Retrieved July 24, 2015. 
  12. ^ a b "Childish Gambino Drops Music Video for "L.E.S." [VIDEO]". Retrieved 2013-03-20. 
  13. ^ "Childish Gambino – "L.E.S." [VIDEO]". Retrieved 2013-03-20. 
  14. ^ "Camp by Childish Gambino reviews". AnyDecentMusic?. Retrieved October 31, 2016. 
  15. ^ a b "Reviews for Camp by Childish Gambino". Metacritic. Retrieved 1 December 2011. 
  16. ^ a b Jeffries, David. "Camp – Childish Gambino". AllMusic. Retrieved November 18, 2011. 
  17. ^ a b Rytlewski, Evan (November 14, 2011). "Childish Gambino: Camp". The A.V. Club. Retrieved May 22, 2016. 
  18. ^ MacInnes, Paul (December 1, 2011). "Childish Gambino: Camp – review". The Guardian. London. Film & music section, p. 11. Retrieved June 5, 2012. 
  19. ^ Gill, Andy (November 18, 2011). "Album: Childish Gambino, Camp (Glassnote/Island)". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on November 21, 2011. Retrieved June 5, 2012. 
  20. ^ a b "Childish Gambino: Camp". Mojo. London (218): 90. January 2012. 
  21. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (December 30, 2011). "Childish Gambino". MSN Music. Retrieved June 3, 2015. 
  22. ^ a b Cohen, Ian (December 2, 2011). "Childish Gambino: Camp". Pitchfork. Retrieved December 1, 2011. 
  23. ^ "Childish Gambino: Camp". Q. London (306): 119. January 2012. 
  24. ^ Herrera, Monica (November 15, 2011). "Camp". Rolling Stone. New York. Retrieved June 5, 2012. 
  25. ^ a b Reeves, Mosi (November 15, 2011). "Childish Gambino, 'Camp' (Glass Note)". Spin. New York. Archived from the original on January 9, 2012. Retrieved November 11, 2012. 
  26. ^ Nicolson, Barry (November 18, 2011). "Album Review: Childish Gambino – 'Camp'". NME. London. Retrieved June 5, 2012. 
  27. ^ Lepore, Steve (November 23, 2011). "Childish Gambino: Camp". PopMatters. Retrieved June 5, 2012. 
  28. ^ Suddath, Claire (November 14, 2011). "Review: Community Star Donald Glover Raps as Childish Gambino on New Album 'Camp'". Time. Retrieved June 5, 2012. 
  29. ^ ajacobs (November 23, 2011). "Hip Hop Album Sales: The Week Ending 11/20/2011". HipHopDX. Retrieved May 22, 2016. 
  30. ^ Zemler, Emily (December 3, 2013). "Childish Gambino Talks 'because the internet' Album & Staying Honest". Billboard. Retrieved July 24, 2015. 
  31. ^ "Camp Side D – Childish Gambino". Retrieved July 24, 2015. 
  32. ^ a b "ARIA Report – Week Commencing 28th January 2013" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. Retrieved February 14, 2013. 
  33. ^ "Childish Gambino – Chart history" Billboard Canadian Albums Chart for Childish Gambino. Retrieved July 24, 2015.
  34. ^ "Official R&B Albums Chart Top 40". Official Charts Company. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  35. ^ "Childish Gambino – Chart history" Billboard 200 for Childish Gambino. Retrieved July 24, 2015.
  36. ^ "Childish Gambino – Chart history" Billboard Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums for Childish Gambino. Retrieved July 24, 2015.
  37. ^ "Childish Gambino – Chart history" Billboard Top Rap Albums for Childish Gambino. Retrieved July 24, 2015.