Childish Gambi-NO

Claire Richardson reviews Childish Gambino’s new album “because the internet”

Courtesy of Soundcloud

Claire Richardson, The Scene Editor

Upon first listen, Childish Gambino’s new album “because the internet” is actually pretty decent. With puns galore and clever rhymes, it’s no doubt that Childish Gambino, aka “Community” actor Donald Glover, has talent. Sadly though, the self-produced beats disappoint.

It all starts with “The Library- Intro” which just plain misses the mark. At only five seconds long, the track is reminiscent of a helicopter, and frankly, it’s purpose  or reason escapes me, but most likely it is, as Gambino would say, because the internet. After that, all of the strange beats continue, with decent raps being drowned out by over-produced beats.

While it’s clear that Gambino put a lot of thought into the clever lyrics, like “y’all B-string like a broke guitar,” describing a guitar with a broken E-string, where the B-string would become the highest string, on “I.Crawl,” the constant problem is his beats. Instead of bobbing my head throughout the female vocals on “I.Crawl,” I found myself fast-forwarding to Gambino’s verses, but when I did, each time I was rewarded with even more clever rhymes. This gives me hope for Gambino’s career as he becomes a more experienced mixer.

Another highlight of his followup album is “II.Worldstar,” which makes use of clever puns while simultaneously mocking the violent culture of the internet site Worldstar, as well as violent culture in general. The further I got into the album, the more I realized how different Gambino’s style is from the other popular rappers of today: Jay-Z, Eminem, A$AP Rocky, 2 Chainz, the list goes on and on. In contrast with their constant use of “turn up” and other easily dreamt up rhymes, Gambino represents rap with thought behind it. Gambino’s past as a writer and his current work as a comedian and actor really come through his beats, with allusions, metaphors, puns, even the use of onomatopoeia, abound, Gambino sets himself apart from the popular rap of today.

Even though Gambino’s lyrics captured my attention, the biggest problem continues to be the beats behind them. The more I loved what he was saying, the less I could get over how they were being presented. Gambino is obviously one of those rappers who would be okay with staying relatively underground, but if he were to only serve up more of his rhymes and less of the alien-esque beats, I have no doubt that he would pick up a few more fans and make it in an even bigger way.

As his work stands now though, more than one or two listens has me saying Childish Gambi-NO.