In our first ever video analysis, we break down the 3005 music video (above).
Still in Oakland, the crew head to a hotel for the night and see a wedding happening in the lobby. The crew leaves, but The Boy stays to watch the wedding. While filming the couple dancing, an older Indian dude comes up to The Boy, a sort of “meeting with the mentor” in traditional literary structures on The Boy’s current “road of trials.”
The term “mentor” comes from the character of the same name in Greek mythology. In Homer’s Odyssey, the goddess Athena appears to Odysseus’s son Telemachus disguised as Mentor and, throughout the epic, guides Telemachus with wisdom and encouragement. In BTI, the older dude offers a reality check, questions The Boy’s faulty ideas of relationships, and seems unimpressed by The Boy’s choice of using his time to troll online.
3005’s producer Stefan Ponce’s presence on the track interacts with his presence elsewhere in BTI, as he is cast as AJ in the script, the pill-popping fun guy who’s DJ name is “Twercules.”
You can listen to a few of Twercules’s mixes above on Soundcloud.
@DJTwercules on Twitter, featuring only posts from November of 2013. Ponce also provided the opening act for Gambino on the Deep Web Tour, playing a DJ set and overseeing the initial use of the Deep Web App, which would be a chatroom and whiteboard projected on stage where the audience could interact with each other and members of ROYALTY.
Ponce appears, throwing up after a night of drinking (above), dancing, and playing music throughout Clapping for the Wrong Reasons.
Click above for Stefan Ponce’s interview on NPR.music Live Sessions.
The track begins with the hook, as Gambino sings in perfect iambic pentameter, a pattern of five poetic feet each containing first an unstressed and then a stressed syllable, most often associated Shakespeare’s sonnets, many of which center on the ideas of love and romance. To that end, 3005 begins as a love song.
As the pledge to be “right by your side ’til 3005,” which resembles a wedding vow, is cut off with “hold up,” Gambino simultaneously implies doubt while pledging commitment, similar to Telegraph Ave. Above, Glover rejects the idea that the song is a straightforward love song, instead highlighting the existential qualities of the track.
“On the radio, that’s my favorite song”
“My favorite song” is a reference to the Chance the Rapper song from his album Acid Rap, featuring a verse from Gambino.
“Now the thrill is gone, got no patience, ‘cause I’m not a doctor / girl why is you lying, girl why you Mufasa.”
This line appears to have originated at Gambino’s freestyle during his 2012 Coachella performance with Kendrick Lamar and Danny Brown. As we’ve seen in the narrative, Gambino isn’t enjoying the party lifestyle anymore, and he laments the thrill being gone.
“Everything we do – sex, art, all that shit – is us trying to feel how we feel inside someone else; how someone else feels like. We’re all connected, we’re like water droplets. Every drop of water on Earth, the spit in my mouth, is trying to go find all the other water. Like we all are trying to be connected and the internet kind of made this thing happen where we could either use this for good, like us growing, or [for worse]. ”
His fear of the future is tempered by the thought of partnership, of having someone with him as they go forward. This was also mentioned in the Instagram notes, and speaks to the song’s attempt to capture an innate human dilemma.
It seems that although Gambino wants an eternal bond, outside forces are reminding him that he doesn’t have one, and his doubts are growing. Glover once explained the “hold up” phrase as his expression of this doubt (above) on Power 106.
“I used to care what people thought, but now I care more.”
Gambino admitting that his existential musings have only exacerbated his concern with what others think about him. However, Glover’s Instagram notes included the line: “I hate caring what people think.” It’s a nuanced distinction, one that Gambino attempted to explain on the Arsenio Hall Show.
Labrador yapping, I’m glad that it happened, I mean it.”
The “labrador yapping” is a sign of distress, and reminds us of Gambino giving context to the track by recounting the scary dog he would protect his sister from as a child. On the song Crawl, we also heard Gambino rap, “I still put it down like the family dog.” And on What Kind of Love, an unfinished track released a few months after BTI, Gambino rapped, “Why get a dog? It’s just gonna die.”
This seems to be one of the central ideas in 3005’s music video, which features a Teddy Bear, another symbol of innocence and joy, that sustains an increasing amount of injuries as Gambino and the bear ride a ferris wheel. Fun fact: The Teddy Bear cost $59.99 from Toys R Us.
Again, if you haven’t yet, you should watch our video that analyzes the 3005 music video in full required viewing in tandem with this episode.
Lemongrab – Adventure Time
The surreal scene at the end of the wedding scene in the script describes humanoid creatures parading around the wedding reception. These creatures are a pretty close match to Lemongrab, the character who rules a parcel of land in Adventure Time, but grows up wealthy and secluded. Lemongrab is directly referenced in the scene, so the connection seems deliberate.
Pendleton Ward, the artist of Adventure Time, was called on to create merch for the string of intimate mansion performances, and his series of shirts and a hoody depict a cartoon Glover facing four different monsters in the style of Adventure Time.
The call for Lemongrab in the script here thus alludes to a piece of pop culture being utilized throughout BTI, and the creatures play on the childish-but-stressful qualities of the imaginary characters.
The tie between a wedding and grabbing lemons or “Lemongrab” also shows up in a scene in Clapping for the Wrong Reasons, where Glover or Gambino or The Boy is having a conversation with Danielle Fishel, who played Topanga on the 90’s sitcom Boy Meets World. Recall this show was just referenced by Swank when the crew was watching the wedding. While Fishel picks lemons from some small lemon trees, she describes to Glover a recurring dream of her wedding, where everything is a disaster.
Glover struggles to carry all the lemons as they walk out of the garden, which is a nod to the “why can’t i hold all these limes?” internet meme that was popular in the early 2010s.
Glover speaks about the reason for casting Danielle Fishel with MUCH.
In contrast with this wedding setting that runs through 3005, the lyric video of 3005 shows Gambino in a chatroom and webcam interaction with former adult actress Abella Anderson. It’s a different sort of relationship and connection than that of the traditional institution of marriage.
By the end of 3005, we’re ultimately left wondering, is it possible to get to a point where you don’t need someone else to give your life purpose? Is that type of fulfillment exclusive to love of another, or can you find it solely within yourself? Can you be alone without being lonely?
Some of us are scared of solitude, and so we seek solace in marriage, in relationships, in social media.
3005’s hook then is a desperate plea in the midst of this crisis. It is a clarion call into the void, a rescue rope thrown overboard into the vastness of an empty black sea.
The Question is…
will someone, something, anything respond?
Will he find purpose?
Will he find connection?
After leaving the diner, The Boy and his crew arrive at an Oakland hotel hosting a wedding between an Indian bride and white groom. While watching the wedding they argue about interracial relationships and if the groom gets any “interracial points.” Swank references the 90’s sitcom Boy Meets World and says the groolm is “doing what white guys been doing since forever.: exactly what he wants.”