Childish Gambino – Because The Internet

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Childish Gambino is definitely a peculiar individual. With his fingers in probably too many pies you wonder if this actor/rapper can put an album out with enough substance and consistency to keep up with the mass of US rappers flooding the soundwaves. The fact that the album cover is a simple headshot, Donald Glover seems to be relying on you recognising his face as Troy Barnes from the US TV sitcom ‘Community’. Thus tricking you to pick it up and take it home. Childish did the majority of the production alongside Swedish TV composer Ludwig Göransson and Stefan Ponce, allowing for the creativity of Glover’s mind to be expressed. Shame it’s such a peculiar mind.

There are nineteen songs on the track listing, but once you cut out the (arguably atmospheric) skits you’re down to thirteen tracks and a total of 43 minutes in actual substance, or lack thereof.  This is a very hit and miss album, with the scales tipping more towards miss than the former. An obvious ‘Yeezus’ inspiration is apparent throughout, with the track ‘Shadows’ attempting to capture a weird Kanye ambience and causing a complete change of direction in the album’s style. That said, it is extremely catchy, and some of it you just can’t help but like.

‘Crawl’ is the opening track (after the five second intro) that has extreme hook over a deep and dark synthed backbone. It’s the kind of track that during it’s bridge you can imagine Steve Aoki throwing a cake, before mashing it with an awful b-side from somewhere. ‘Worldstar’ is where the album obviously generates it’s main theme, namely the internet and how deep and dark it can be (just like one’s soul I do believe – correct me if I’m wrong Mr Gambino). The beat and trippy effect played with an easy backing of a fight found on WorldstarHipHop, the message of this track is to ensure that when something bad happens in life, you have your phone out recording. And then comes in the ‘Worldstar Chant’. Before the track makes it to the breakdown you’re bored. Next.

‘The Worst Guys’ is perhaps one of the better tracks off the album, a returning backscratch to Chance The Rapper for his feature of Childish on his album ‘Acid Rain’. The track has a lot of ingredients squeezed into it, even an odd guitar solo for good measure. But ‘3005’ is obviously the most memorable track on the album, with a dance beat, clappy 808 and simplistic hook leading into a club bopping chorus, that you will undoubtedly start to hear everywhere, even cleanly cut on Radio 1. Doesn’t that just sum up Childish Gambino as a whole? As hard as he went in on his previous album with twisted lyrics that reciprocated a Tyler, The Creator style, he seems to have dropped the ball on ‘Because The Internet’.

There is very little to say positively about this album that will inspire the rappers of tomorrow or anyone that really has a vested interest or love of hip-hop. Put it like this, if there was a time capsule that you had to leave for each genre to be found by an alien species in a century’s time, ‘Because The Internet’ would not be found by those three fingered weirdos.

Written by Max Necus (@MaxNecus)

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