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16 technology references made by Childish Gambino on the ‘Kauai EP’

What rhymes with 'XM Radio?'


Ramon Ramirez


Posted on Oct 8, 2014   Updated on May 30, 2021, 11:00 am CDT

Childish Gambino is immensely popular, I think, because the rapper (comedian Donald Glover) is able to aptly connect with Internet culture and enjoys an educated, affluent, young base. He lands blows with suburban references, and it’s non-threatening and charismatic even when he’s rapping about being a terrible person. But a big part of his brand revolves around cute lyrics about modern times.

His latest, KAUAI EP, is maybe his best. It’s a two-part mixtape—half traditional rapping over hotly curated radio beats (with DJ Drama there as an appropriated Atlanta hip-hop reference point), and half warmly produced R&B. While the latter half is beautiful and smooth, the beginning is classic Gambino: playing the outsider, dishing out Cookie Monster-scary threats, and, of course, rapping about technology. To wit, here are the 16 tech references nestled throughout his latest. No one ever said he was a master of subtlety.

1. Slide up in them DMs, her n*gga didn’t even notice, I’m focused

2. Three cellphones and I still don’t ever call ’em / Why would I call ’em? Bitch you know I’m ballin’

3. I might drop them bars, that AT&T

4. My life inside a computer, back up—my soul to the cloud

5. Got that buzz, the phone was silent

6. She want some pics, I’m like “oh well, you better Google search” / money rule my universe

7. Hit me on my Nextel chirp, when you heard that *brrrp* *brrrp*, mean that n*gga got some work

8. Never on the phone, had to do it on my own / Took a minute, now we on

9. Room service like 2K, NBA

10. Old school on the XM got your auntie singing

11. Childish y’all know the name, getting hate from Charlemagne*

*Glover and radio personality Charlemagne had beef. Glover blogged about it and this clip details the skirmish.

12. Bunch of crab-ass bloggers got me allergic to shellfish / If I fell off in a day, man, these n*ggas be helpless

13. After his rap on the “Go DJ” beat, Glover shouts out the following titans of tech, saying, “You’ve been fucking with me since the beginning.”

Melody McCloskey, CEO of StyleSeat
Ryan Sarver, Redpoint Ventures
Owen Brainard, CEO of Brainard Capital
Krutal Desai, Head of Special Projects at Automatic, the company that brought you WordPress
Matt Mullenweg, creator of WordPress
Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google
Jack Dorsey, Twitter founder
Angela Benton, CEO of NewMe Accelerator

14. I ain’t afraid to drop a couple Sky Miles

15. Shots from a redbone / talking ‘bout her skin tone / her color beats headphones

16. I’m on that Willy Wonka, green so Blanka

Photo via John Biehler (CC BY 2.0) | Remix by Jason Reed

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*First Published: Oct 8, 2014, 10:30 am CDT