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You may know Childish by his actor name, Donald Glover. He has acted on the NBC TV show ‘Community’ and done stand-up specials on Comedy Central. He is something of a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to entertainment.
His newest album “Because the Internet” came out in December of 2013. I believe I speak for most people when I say that I was expecting an album similar to his previous album “Camp” in which he used rap and beats to tell a story. Although, content-wise he still used his raps to describe his experiences, he brought in an entirely new style of music to accompany his stories. I must say I was pleasantly surprised. Instead of the bass-heavy beats normally associated with rap that we all know and love, this album features an electronic almost indie sounding rhythm in the background. Instead of contrasting or distracting from the content of the music, the cascade of smooth soundscapes and rhythmic clicks and pounds accented his raps astoundingly well.
It is rare for an artist to successfully blend genres in such a cohesive way. On some songs like “Flight of the Navigator”, the song becomes more beat than rap. But instead of this becoming overpowering, it allows space and a somewhat psychedelic mood for the listener to contemplate what was said. The album strayed from many standards for rap albums and mix-tapes. In doing so, it created a unique piece of music that I enjoyed immensely.
On the other hand, my main critique of the album was its length. 20 songs seemed much too long which featured a number that were shorter than a minute. Several of which seemed unnecessary or irrelevant to the main theme of the album. It also featured many songs in which Childish Gambino was singing more than rapping. His previous albums have featured songs where he sings like in the song “Letter Home” but never so many as in this album.
In my mind, this album was an absolute home-run for Childish Gambino. It strayed from genre standards whilst creating a unique and genuinely entertaining album. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys either rap or electronic-indie. Where some might miss the booming beats and ranting raps of the past, I see this as a transitional album both for Childish and for the entire music world.