I wish I could say this was a story about how I got on the bus a boy and got off a man more cynical, hardened, and mature and shit. But that’s not true. The truth is I got on the bus a boy. And I never got off the bus. I still haven’t

from Childish Gambino – That Power Lyrics on Rap Genius

Meaning

Donald learned from this experience, but not in the way most people would. Instead of becoming jaded towards the world and women and love and relationships, Donald instead adapted what he was doing. He decided to be open and upfront with his lyrical content, which prevents him from having any truly intimate relationships with women since he’d have to respect their privacy by keeping certain things to himself. But he doesn’t want to be dishonest to his fans by holding back anything personal from them, so that openness keeps women from getting too close.

Donald likes that it keeps women away in an intimate sense because he hasn’t truly gotten over this incident he’s talking about and hasn’t matured to be able to deal with it like most people would. While most people would become hardened and jaded or just be more realistic in dealing with love and relationships, he retains that innocence of his that still believes in “destiny,” but since he doesn’t want to be hurt like that again, he just created a barrier between himself and others. And in that sense, he’s still childish.

He says that he still hasn’t gotten off the bus, which means he’s still technically at camp. The first track, “Outside,” begins exactly where this song left off: with Donald back in his home city as a child, contemplating the difficulties of his life.

Thus, entirety of the album takes place at the metaphorical camp. The first four tracks are chronological (representing his childhood, rise to success, reveling in his fame, and sudden realization that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be) and the other songs seem to take place at some point after “All the Shine,” culminating in “That Power,” which ends in a flashback to right before “Outside.”

Note: This outro is actually the beginning of the Because The Internet Screenplay.

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