Childish Gambino Reminisces About Atlanta On ‘STN MTN / Kauai’
Coming off the success of his strongest effort to date, Because The Internet, Childish Gambino unexpectedly announced his first ever DJ Drama-helmed Gangsta Grillz mixtape, STN MTN, this August. The announcement left fans wondering would Gambino drop all original material or would he rap over other peoples beats. The answer is both - STN MTN is the tape full of freestyles over popular ATL beats and Kauai is the EP, which features all new songs. The tape is perfect timing, too, since 'Bino is preparing for his new FX comedy series called "Atlanta." It's only right the actor/rapper reps his city to the fullest on STN MTN, taking over songs like Future's "Move That Dope" and K Camp's "Money Baby" and adding his own twist.
STN MTN starts off with 'Bino dreaming about running Atlanta. He name-drops different things he would do, whether its bringing back the legendary LaFace Records or re-opening popular clubs in the A. (112 and Jazzy T's) Then on "Southern Hospitality," Gambino goes in over Ludacris' club banger, spitting, "'Bino on a mission / We are not friends, nigga this is business / Girl this my dream, ain't no split decisions...I was always spittin', just that no one else was listening." Gambino is having fun all throughout the mixtape, especially when you hear him on trunk-ratting production on tracks like "Fucks Given" and "Mondey Baby." What makes STN MTN so good is how entertaining 'Bino can be, experimenting with different flows on the "Move That Dope / Nextel Chirp" mesh, as well as "All Y'all."
The biggest surprise on SNT MTN is the Young Scooter-assisted "Let Your Hair Blow", produced by Zaytoven. While its looks like an awkward collab on paper, its actually one of the standouts. Scooter provides a catchy hook, while 'Bino addresses the statements he made about being better than Kendrick, Drake and ScHoolboy Q. He raps, "I just say the realest shit and hope it don't insult you / On stage, yellin' crazy shit / I was high but I meant that shit / Let it out, gotta vent that shit." Another standout is his remix to Little Rock, AK newcomer Kari Faux. Gambino and Kari are all big money, no small talk. STN MTN ends with Gambino flexing his lyrical muscle over Weezy's "Go DJ." The mixtape transitions into the EP perfectly, as 'Bino's dream ends and he wakes up in Kauai.
The Kauai EP has more singing than rapping. Gambino's influences clearly show on here, as he embodies the styles of Lil Wayne, Drake and Pharrell. One example is "Sober," while others is 'Bino's spoke word tracks "Pop Thieves (Make It Feel Good)" (featuring Jaden Smith) and "Late Night In Kauai." "The Palisades" is about him wanting to find love, which he touches on in these lyrics, "Now why can't everyday be like this / Smoke a J at the beach like this / Hang with bae at the beach like this." Lastly, "Poke" is a good track, but gets bogged down by Steve G Lover doing his best flow from Wayne's Tha Carter II era.
While his unmatched creativity in the forefront on the STN MTN / Kauai project, and keeping the features to a minimum, Childish Gambino continues to prove that he's one of the leaders of hip-hop's new school.—Chris Davis