[Review] Because the Internet – Childish Gambino
I know many of y’all now probably wondering why I chose to do this review a month after the album dropped, and now y’all expecting me to give some deep artistic corny reason as to why the review came this late. The editor will kill me for this but I really have NO legitimate reason I just didn’t like him before lol. You are now with the Young Jedi, Mr. Upper Echelons, the god Jicho and I’ll be breaking ‘Because the Internet’ by Childish Gambino down. (p.s I’ll be using some deep artistic corny words in this review)
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
Donald Glover is one dude who goes against the grain to push the envelope; dude acts, writes, raps and he seems to get better at his craft just as you watch him tire of it. He caught everyone’s attention after a stint as a writer for “30 Rock” then later joined NBC’s “Community”. He later jumped ship and became the star and show runner of his own autobiographical sitcom “Atlanta”. His rap career hatching has a funny story though; he entered his name into an online Wu Tang Rap name Generator and ended up with “Childish Gambino”. And this has been his most troubled project. Some of his earlier releases had the joking ‘easy, just messing around!’ vibe of a rap career; he started on a lark but buckled under too much squeaky voiced bubble gum rap. Later teaming up with some dude named Ludwig Goransson for “Culdesac” but this wasn’t felt; it was terrible; I did doubt his skill listening to it too. His debut album “Camp” was also half terrible, it was over saturated with poppy production and Childish punchlines. Gambino repeatedly copied Little Wayne and 2000-era Ludacris style of rap he didn’t have a sound of his own. But he has with time proven growth, and this was witnessed in his 2012 follow-up mix tape “Royalty” which had some dope rappers on the project and this seemed as a way for him to boost his Hip-hop credibility, though most of the rappers he featured ran circles around him, he was still Childish lyrically. When “Because the Internet” leaked, I was a lot hesitant to cop or even sample it; I mean it is Donald Glover from Community, why would I take him seriously as a rapper? People started talking about the album and Childish Gambino becoming weird, then someone sent me the album, and I was like, “oh shit! What if I actually listen and like his music?” and the rest is history. The internet has become a conduit for humanity’s endless appetite for distraction and sensory assault of information. “Because the Internet” as the title suggest, is Childish Gambino trying to speak to the generation who’s never lived without the internet. The album caters for all the character traits one would find on the internets; from the truncated attention spans to those with an addiction to gratification. The album on the other hand is so ambitious and all over the place that it seems its intended audience won’t experience it as intended. The album sounds like Gambino combining his love for script writing and rap, having launched a confessional series of instagram posts
Photos from http://instagram.com/childishness about his damaged self from depression, fear and talking about mortality in interviews.
From a different perspective, Gambino’s Pre-release stunts might have been part of a long con to show the themes to be found in the album. The album is an exploration of self; Glover is defining his own sound, he is more comfortable here. He spits some referential punchlines inspired by internet memes like “…ain’t nobody got time for that…” “…hashtag, niggas be like…” ‘The Crawl’ is one track that Gambino is somewhat an arrogant asshole rapper but at the same time is in a contemplative mood; the bouncy ‘Sweatpants’ and trap ‘Worldstar’ are in the same line with a similar theme as ‘The Crawl’, though ‘Worldstar’ is split into two parts, with the latter being a tad jazzy. In the track ‘Shadows’ which is also my favorite off this album, producer ThunderCat breaks it down with them guitars as Gambino is wearing his singing hat, talking about some relationship shit. New comer Chance the rapper features in ‘Worst Guy’, a weird ass track and all Chance does is say ‘…all she need was some…’ The album is supposed to be synchronized with the 76 page screenplay ‘becausetheinter.net’ which is preempted by the the short film ‘Clapping for the wrong reasons‘
Clapping for the Wrong Reasons video – Childish Gambino
but its film making the album itself is jumbled up and has no direction. They tracks are just a manifesto of a lost black boy and a critique of the queer nature of the internet. Azealia Banks features on ‘Earth: The Oldest Computer’ and her too has a weird role, she sings which is unlike her, and she sings her ass off pretty well. ‘Because The Internet’ breaks many of Childish Gambino’s poor rap habits, his mic skills have improved, his delivery is dope too. Other artists featuring on the album are; Problem, Mystikal and Jhene Aiko. Apart from Jhene Aiko’s amazing delivery on ‘Pink Toes’, Gambino takes all the verses. The album is a minefield of punchlines though, dude spits some fire on there, some notable lines are; ‘…Tia and Tamera in my Bed I’m a smart guy…’ (Many won’t get this line but if you know Taj Mowry (Smart guy), you would get it) Gambino and Goransson handle most of the production, though Stefan Ponce and Alley Oops also assist. ‘III Telegraph Ave’ features Lloyd and Gambino is also singing on this one, he actually sings nice.
Picture courtesy of www.hiphopdx.com
‘Because the Internet’ is Glover’s first release that doesn’t have a mist of amateur work, his growth as a rapper since ‘Camp’ is commendable. If Childish ever need to justify why the album sounds so jumbled, he has an excuse right there on the title well … Because, the internet. Needless to say it is a really decent album.