Review: 15 Thoughts On Childish Gambino's 'Because The Internet'
December 9, 2013 - 7:45 pm
1. The collaborations on BTI represent some of the most popular artists on the web. Azealia Banks, Problem, Chance The Rapper and Macklemore are used in subtle and simplistic ways, similar to Chief Keef's contributions on Kanye's luminous "Hold My Liquor." Each artist is carefully utilized and adds a special moment to each song.
2. Sonically this LP represents a branch of modern hip-hop that hasn't yet been labeled. Sure, it's easy to label it hipster, emo or experimental. It's more of a blend of hashtag rap, creative samples and the strong foundation of lyrical content. It formulates a fusion that forces you to question doubts about hip-hop's current state.
3. The Jhene Aiko and Gambino rumors are what tumblr kids dream of ("Pink Toes" is their BTI duet), but Gambino and Kilo Kish create beautiful music together, too. Just check her whispy vocals on "Zealots of Stockholm": "Is it real cause your online?"
4. Gambino knows that he isn't rap's ideal poster boy, but isn't going to stop because of trolls and skeptics that come his way. He illustrates that point on "Life: The Biggest Troll."
5. Today's fame gives Internet sensations like Gambino a dose of paranoia daily. You hear it on tracks like "The Party," where he constantly questions the people around him.
6. How great is Chance The Rapper's voice? Seriously. He brings his own flavor to "The Worst Guys."
7. Gambino is one of the few rappers who didn't need to borrow a cadence from anyone else but his past projects. With "Earth: The Oldest Computer (The Last Night)", Banks and Gambino create a vision of strobe lights and a love that came around at the last minute.
8. "Worldstar," based off the infamous worldstarhiphop.com, is our doing. We want to enjoy the unfortunate circumstances of others, but we secretly want what comes after it-fame. "We don't want to be a Worldstar!/And I all I wanna be is a Worldstar!"
9. Production on Because the Internet is theatric at times, but still masterfully weaved together sonically.
10. Best bars: "Sweatpants." Childish goes all the way in here. "Spending this money, it's longer than Nia/Live like a Coppola, and a Sofia/Waking up broke, man, wouldn't want to be ya/Bring a girlfriend, man trouble when I see her/Er-err-err-err/onomatopoeia"
11. Fans have gotten to see where he's been with his debut Camp, but that maiden LP was littered with scattered, anxious thoughts. With Because The Internet, Gambino is more sure and aware of himself.
12. Soul influences from Marvin Gaye and The Jackson 5 are heard throughout the album, playing as helpful transitions through "Dial Up" and "The Worst Guys." He's not afraid to mention it, either: "Jackson 5 in the back of an Acura/acting blacker Than a Bernie Mac/some Charlie Murphy's and Akon." Bonus points for the "ABC" wordplay.
13. Donald Glover's on-screen characters Troy Barnes and the Mad Hatter are long gone. Fans and hip-hop heads will appreciate that the album is quality music from a twenty something who isn't named Kendrick.
14. Gambino has grown with this album, but does he want commercial success? Because The Internet will likely earn critical nods, hopefully mainstream will follow.
15. At first, Because The Internet can be seen as an outpour of emotions. Then you see it for what it really is: A conceptual project portraying everything the Internet has become. Life happens and carelessness ensues (i.e. "The Library," 'Worldstar," "Playing Around Before The Party") but it still rounds out how entertaining moments like #thatbackfliptho, the latest Drake meme and Black Twitter can be.