Donald Glover may be the apple of the industry's eye today, but, according to one of his longtime collaborators, he hasn't always been highly-respected, admired and revered.
"A lot of people, I'm not gonna say any names, were not rocking with Donald in the industry [when he started]," Christian Rich producer Kehinde Hassan told Rolling Stone. "Hip-hop music is harsh. People are like, this is struggle music, and you can't go from doing well [as an actor on Community] and come down to struggle music. You have to start with struggle music and then do everything else. It's hilarious all these famous people are sweating him now."
Rolling Stone also spoke with Zane Lowe, the creative director for Apple Music's Beats 1 radio, who, unlike Hassan, believes Glover's musical approach—not his path to the industry—is what made it difficult for others to initially jump on his bandwagon.
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"There was ambiguity [on Camp] – he takes lefts and rights at will," Lowe said. "Whenever you have an artist who does that in the early stages, it takes some people a while to catch up and realize that that level of unexpectedness is the hook. It takes longer to buy into a polymath."
In addition to growing as a human and improving as an artist—Pitchfork infamously gave his 2011 album Camp a 1.6—Glover's approach to making music has shapeshifted quite a bit over the past eight years. That said, Glover has always remained proud of his earliest offerings. "People should understand u don't have to be perfect. you can just learn," Glover wrote in a 2014 Tumblr-esque Deep Web Tour post.
Following the release of his next album—Glover's first on RCA Records—the rapper-singer-producer plans to retire his music stage name, Childish Gambino.
You can read Rolling Stone's "How Donald Glover Charted His Own Path to Hip-Hop Stardom" article here.