Sunday, 22 December 2013

Childish Gambino's "Because The Internet": A Wonderful Journey Pt. 2

On December 6th, Childish Gambino released his highly anticipated sophomore album Because The Internet, the follow up to his 2011 classic Camp. Being a very personal album to me, this follow up was eagerly anticipated, especially after his mixtape Royalty. I saw an interview where he said mixtapes are like practice for him and I assumed that the purpose behind Royalty was to earn some credit and popularity with the large amount of high profile features (such as ScHoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, Ghostface Killah and many others) and the southern influenced boom-bap production. So while I was looking forward to this album, I was a bit afraid that it wouldn't blow me away the same way Camp did. The single 3005 didn't hold my interest at the time but some of the leaked tracks such as Yaphet Kotto and Sweatpants did hold my attention. With him announcing that it would be a concept album (by releasing a script), I couldn't wait for the release of the album. Upon release, I thought Childish Gambino has once again released a monster of an album that is beyond what I was expecting.

I read a lot of comments about how the album shouldn't be listened to without reading the script because it would feel very disjointed. However, I decided not to read the script because I prefer analyzing albums by myself. From the moment the album starts, you can tell that Gambino is experimenting with a lot of different sounds. Crawl opens up with a huge beat, filled with a yelling sample and female vocals in front of heavy layered production. It is a very catchy start and Gambino spits some great bars like "They wanna smoke niggas when they Black & Mild so we acting out" and the booty line was hilarious! The song then transitions into a string section instrumental with the female vocals creating a lot of dramatic contrast between the different sounds. The next song is WORLDSTAR which is a mockery or satire of the famous website itself. The beat is very spacious and hypnotizing and Gambino critiques Worldstar and its users in a very serious yet still funny way. The Worldstar chanting creates atmosphere and the beat switch up near the end is excellent as well.

Shadows is a highlight track because it is a return to Gambino's introspective side when it comes to relationships. Throughout the song, he describes his feelings towards a girl and how much she means to him. It may sound corny but it works well for Gambino and the beat switch up again in the end alludes to a lot of negative energy, implying that she may not have the same feelings back or that she may be seeing someone else. The importance of this song is that it heavily influences the next track Telegraph Ave. which is Gambino running red lights and stop signs trying to get to his girl as fast as possible taking the risk of dying because he would rather die than not be with her. With tracks like these, it is obvious that Gambino has gotten a lot more personal, deep, and introspective with his music. The melody throughout the track and the Lloyd sample feel so elegant and fitting. 

Sweatpants then follows, which like I said was already a familiar track because it leaked  before the album's release. The beat is too hype, and it features Gambino doing his classic spitting, wordplay, and punchline jokes. He paints himself as an asshole rich kid who is above everyone hence "Don't be mad coz I'm doing me better than you doing you" and all the other braggadocios punchlines. It is a very pleasant change in mood from the seriousness of the previous tracks. 3005 comes right after, but to be honest with more listens, it becomes catchier and catchier to the point were it becomes very tolerable and not as corny. The Party and No Exit bring the serious tones back to the album, showcasing how insecure and isolated Gambino feels. In The Party, Gambino invites friends, who as a result spread the rumor about the party, and his house ends up being filled with strangers. He then snaps and tells them all to "Get the fuck outta my house!". In No Exit, Gambino is frustrated about his life and view of reality and he finds himself becoming more of a recluse. 

I feel like if I continue talking about individual tracks at this point, I may never end because the tracks after No Exit are very coded and open to interpretation. They tie the whole album together for me and add soul to the album. Earth: The Oldest Computer and Life: The Biggest Troll may be some of the deepest and most personal tracks to come out this year. He reflects on the idea of life itself being so wonderful and beautiful, yet insignificant in the end because we are destined to die since the day we were born. In the last few lines of the album, he says "Life's the biggest troll but the joke is on us/Yeah, the joke's you showed up". This paints a picture of how deep of a lyricist Gambino is, and how he should be taken more seriously as an artist and even a poet from now. 

In conclusion, Because The Internet is by far one of the best albums of the year regardless of genre. It's experimentation, unique sounds, stellar production, and excellent lyricism keep the momentum going for the entirety of the album (which stands at 19 tracks!). The album also contains short instrumental interludes which tie the whole album together, and this shows how Gambino is one hell of a producer as well (Props to Ludwig Goransson also). You might not get it at first listen, but you eventually will which makes it such a great experience. I highly recommend this album so got out and cop it and support great Hip-Hop. Happy Holidays!


Favorite Track(s): 
Crawl, Shadows, Telegraph Ave, Sweatpants, The Party, No Exit, Pink Toes (Feat.  Jhen√© Aiko), Earth: The Oldest Computer (The Last Night) (Feat. Azealia Banks), & Life: The Biggest Troll .

Least Favorite Track(s): 
The Worst Guys (Feat. Chance The Rapper) (IF I HAD TO CHOOSE ONE)

What are your thoughts of the album? Do you think the experimentation worked? Is Childish Gambino more mature or is he as corny as ever? Let me know by leaving a comment!

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