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Childish Gambino Shows His Growth On ‘Because The Internet’

The birth of Childish Gambino happened back in 2008 when Donald Glover plugged his name into a Wu-Tang rap name generator, thus his name was born and out comes his first tape, Sick Boi. For the early part of the 30-year-old’s rap career, hip-hop purists assumed the once writer for NBC’s 30 Rock and cast member of NBC’s Community was trolling in his spare time, slinging goofy raps and calling himself a rapper. However, the growth is present on his sophomore effort Because The Internet.

In terms of creativity and originality, Because The Internet excels. Examine The 25-minute Clapping For The Wrong Reasons short-film and the digital 76-page script that accompanies the album as a collective body of work. Everything works in symmetry and takes you on an odyssey through Childish’s psyche and inner demons. The storyline follows a reclusive gentleman named “The Boy,” as he treks through life by technology and relentless introspection. Will this tape wow you lyrically? Not at all, but the story will fascinate you. Gambino’s writing is ambitious and experimental that displays his script writing background and imagination. Though it’s a improvement from his debut album Camp, there are moments on BTI where he is pushing the boundaries and making it a very captivating and perplexing listen. You are rarely bored.

“3005,” a lush radio friendly record that showing off both Gambino’s lyrical and singing competence. The song is an easy favorite—addictive hook and a simple yet crisp beat over smooth drums. Another standout is “Telegraph Ave” (which samples Lloyd’s “Oakland”), a cinematic record that finds him baring his soul through self-depreciating thoughts: “And you wanna be a mom and I wasn’t mad at her / I was thinking ’bout me, I’d be really bad at it.”

Everything isn’t so introspective though. We see Gambino’s comedic writing take shape with “Sweatpants,” where he’s poking fun at individuals viewing rich people as obnoxious with ego problems (“I’m chillin’, real nigga feeling / Rich kid, asshole: paint me as a villain). “Crawl” is a head pounding record that kind of feels like the beginning of a Calvin Harris record, yet it feels like you’re about to go on a wild ride. There is also a good amount of Gambino singing that really works well with cuts such as “Shadows,” “Flight Of The Navigator, and “Urn,” which the latter he channels his inner Maxwell.

Now, ‘Bino does go left-field with some joints such as “Worldstar” (named after the popular WorldStar Hip-Hip website) that is a bit off-putting and whimsical. “Zealots Of Stockholm (Free Information)” is weird cloudy rap with lazy lyrics (“We can kick it like it’s FIFA, homie / Nevertheless, I got that fresh like it was Crest”) mixed with chaotic production.

Because The Internet shows off his full array of talent (writer, musician, comedian) and makes him stand out from the rest. If you literally pick up this album and try to listen to it randomly, you may feel it’s erratic, sloppy and too gloomy. However, once again, look at Childish Gambino’s background. He is a man of television, comedy and storytelling. The whole album rollout—from prelude short-film to the script to the music—proves Gambino can carve himself a place as an viable figure in the genre. Traditions are meant to be broken.Emmanuel C.M.

  • Ben

    This album is ahead of its time, I’m saying it is the best hip hop album of 2013, with the screenplay and all . revolutionary

  • brizzle

    gambino def surprised me. i didnt expect this album to be see creative, innovative and just good music

  • Taio Smalls

    Because The Internet & Yeezus are years ahead of their time. In 5 to 10 years they’ll be in greatest albums of all time categories.

    • L.o.M.d

      Not Yeezus, I’m a huge Yeezy fan but it sounded way too rushed, BTI kind of sounds like what Yeezus could’ve been

  • Holloway

    I think that this album totally underrated Gambino’s lyrical content, and I think it should be an XL rating. With lyrics like, “And I’m out of this world like Tang, niggaThat’s a space bar, man, I hate y’all”, and M A N Y more lyrics filled with wit and double entendres, I think that is the only glib I have with this review.

    • RNKTA

      what song was that in?

      • L.o.M.d

        The Worst Guys

    • Matt Cosgrove

      Yeah 3 bars for lyrics is ridiculously low. I hate the way XXL assigns scores anyways. There’s more to an album than Beats, lyrics, and originality.

  • D.j. West

    Nigga, these beats were 5 stars; same with NWTS and Yeezus.

  • Ron

    I think this review is probably the most spot on spot one I have read…. the lyrics honestly are a bit inconsistent and not everyone is totally enamored with the “childish” personality he brings. The beats are amazing but I personally love house, trap and music with heavy bass so I’m probably bias. My only disagreement is with the originality grade he got. The entire experience CG has brought is something special in terms of music. It doesn’t come often enough imo.

  • James

    I found a good section of this album to be a “what Yeezus could have been” if that makes any sense. The whole idea of using noise-hop beats to create a masterpiece was what Kanye was trying to do but imo he did it poorly because of his lack of lyrics and the beat choices themselves didn’t suit Kanye, here though, Gambino finds beats that suit him perfectly and have mainstream appeal too. Lyrically i can see why you gave him an L but I thought he had a lot of quotables and double entendres on here (pink toes referring to cocaine). Originality wise imo it deserves higher, have you seen another rapper, or artists for that matter come up with the idea of producing a screenplay to go along with their album?! Now i know some of you would argue and say that if he’s copying Yeezus how can it get an XXL for originality… Because the bulk of the album was recorded before Yeezus was released.

  • Trey

    I thought this was a really solid album and I love the direction that CG was going for. Unfortunately, I think (due to the nature of the album) there aren’t many tracks that can stand alone and we live in a time where singles reign.

  • Childish Gambino

    I fuck with myself.
    Out of this world like Tang Nigger was the greatest rap bar in the history of rap.
    Drops Mic

    • Childish Gambino

      And stop comparing me to Jeezus.
      Kanye is straight crazy.
      He raps about nothing. Jerry Seinfeld nigga!
      Also Wale had the best rap album of 2013!!!!

  • WHOAH

    have you checked this kid out? https://soundcloud.com/moltmarson rapper from SA..!!

  • 504bound

    This is so iconic I wish there was more to the screen play but he leaves it open for interpretation and more works like this in the future. He’s creating a whole new genre and we really cant be the people to judge because we have nothing to compare it to.

  • dipset1992

    shoulda been XXL

    Coming from a indi-label, politics play a big part

  • Wesley Roberson

    Originality should’ve been a XXL. The cohesiveness between the album, short movie and screenplay made the album different from anything I can think of off the top of my head. Lyrics should’ve been at least an XL too. Worldstar and sweatpants fulfilled the purpose they were supposed to. They went perfectly when reading the screenplay.

  • Nick James

    I just want a count of how many albums get an XL annually…..

  • realtalk

    HOW IS THIS NOT RATED XXL ??