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Because the Internet

Childish Gambino

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Album Review

Having left his full-time role on the hit comedy Community to concentrate on music, rapper Donald Glover aka Childish Gambino gets broader and bolder on his 2013 effort Because the Internet, an indulgent kaleidoscope of studio tricks and celebrity problems that's still wildly attractive thanks to its smarts and ability to swing. That latter bit comes courtesy of primary producers Glover and Ludwig Goransson, who mix the edgy sounds of indie rap and indie pop with the best the mainstream world of R&B has to offer. Cool, radio-friendly crooner Lloyd shows up on the creamy West Coast dream called "Telegraph Ave.," while "3005" comes with a chorus so uplifting and bright, it makes the nerdy stay-at-home wallflower at its center sound epic and sexy. The booming influence of the A$AP Mob is felt on numerous cloudy cuts like the grand "Worldstar," where popping pills at Coachella, a Martin Scorsese reference, and a twisted sax solo all congeal into a dank glop of hip-hop hash oil. Then there are all the instrumental interludes that divide the album into chapters or suites, because this one reaches for art with some interruptions for getting flashy on "The Worst Guys" (where Chance the Rapper is merely Chance the Hypeman) and crashing on the couch for either a spliff, or maybe spliff and a sweet snuggle, with Jhené Aiko's "Pink Toes." All of it flows splendidly and Gambino's wit, hipness, and lyrical dexterity are all still strong points, with "I got more tail than Petco," "More green than my Whole Foods/And I'm too Fly, Jeff Goldblum," plus a reference to the "Ain't Nobody Got Time for That" meme being some examples. Still, even with all these strong points, Gambino often frames his angst and anger with the burden of being born rich (something he mentions quite often on the album), providing plenty of "we should all have such problems" bait or "hierarchy of needs" ammunition, depending on the listener's viewpoint/bank account. Even the short "The Party" finds him inviting friends over and then yelling at them to get the "F" out, but there's long been a wide gap between the life experience of rappers and their fans, something supported by the growling background vocals on "Crawl" provided by Mystikal, an MC who did plenty of hard time when most of his fans have not. Connecting with the album is nearly impossible, understanding it is difficult, and often enough, its inflated ego is irksome, but Because the Internet is too free and fascinating to be dragged down by these complaints, so if a Yeezus with more flash and fun is what's required, Gambino's got the good stuff.

Customer Reviews

Amazing!

This is one of the best albums I have ever heard. The beats are sick and the way Gambino raps is just awesome. Definitely worth purchasing.

👍

It's one of those albums you never get tired of. Something you can play all the way through & enjoy.

Less of an album, more of an experience

Gambino, in a radio interview, said he didn’t really believe in albums anymore. And that made no sense to me, until I broke down and bought the whole album. I can never judge an album until I’ve listened to it for about a week, and even a short time into it I noticed an organization to the album. Not only is it full of some of the best instrumentals I’ve ever heard in a rap album, Gambino’s rapping is great, and the lyrics actually mean something. (Rare for modern rap.) I feel like Gambino, when he was creating the album, was going for more of an intense user experience, invoking emotions rather than catchy tunes. I understand what he feels, through his music. It’s an intense experience. I never write reviews of any kind, but this album compelled me to do so.

Biography

Born: September 25, 1983 in Los Angeles, CA

Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Years Active: '00s, '10s

When he's not busy writing for television, performing with his sketch group Derrick Comedy, or acting on the NBC comedy Community, Donald Glover somehow finds the time to make beats and rap as his alter ego, Childish Gambino. The project took on a life of its own after Glover found someone to rhyme over the beats he’d been making in his spare time. In 2008, he released his first record as Childish Gambino, Sick Boi, and followed it up the next year with Poindexter. In 2010 he released two mixtapes,...
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Because the Internet, Childish Gambino
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