by Eddie Bates, Michaela Baker, Kirsten Arnoult
Ex producer of popular sitcom 30 Rock and cast member of the hit NBC comedy Community, Donald Glover (better known by his stage name Childish Gambino) released his sophomore album Because The Internet on December 10th, 2013. Because The Internet soon hit #7 on the Billboard 200 and peaked at #1 on the U.S Rap charts. Glover shows off his skills as a playwright with this album as well, writing a 75 page screenplay that goes along with the album.
I was skeptical of the comedian’s musical ability, at first. I did not know if he was channeling Jimmy Fallon in his attempt to make a music album or not, and I thought that the album would be an utter joke. That skepticism was soon broken immediately with the opening of the albums first song “Crawl”.
“Crawl” had a shaky opening for me but Gambino solidified his legitimacy as a rapper with the first verse. And overall Crawl was one of the better songs on the album, making allusions to the popular phrase ain’t nobody got time for that and threw in a twitter hashtag. This first song was a decent 6/10 for me, the beat was distorted and made the pauses between the chorus and the verses hard to listen too. The next track “Worldstar” however scored a little bit higher on my ratings.
“Worldstar” opens up with lines such as “take your phone out to record this Ain’t nobody can ignore this” eventually comparing himself with film director Martin Scorcese. The title is a somewhat obscure reference to WorldStarHipHop.com. Gambino is very cynical of the app Vine, comparing some of the people on it as think they are “Hollywood on Vine”. The song featured less of the strange background noise from Crawl and was a simple, good solid song with a catchy beat to it ( a beat that even came through in the form of a saxophone towards the wnd, which was a some what unique way of closing to song) so it is easily a 8/10.
Gambino was referencing an actual street in Oakland with another single “Telegraph Ave.”; and this single fits right in line with the other sad and sentimental songs on the album, but “Telegraph Ave” also hid an upbeat sound behind it. Talking of leaving behind his girlfriend saying “Because I’m way to scared to call and you might get me to stay”, the album seems to be a new beginning for the character that he introduces in the previous song “Shadows”. I simply could not find a major flaw with this one. One of my favorites on the album, the hook of “Telegraph Ave” was infectious and I found myself singing it even after I finished the rest of the album.
The song “The Last Night” touches on a more personal note in that below the lyrics that accoriding to rapgenius.com is “The song deals with death and how we can never plan our last day, how it comes at the most random moment.” At this point in the screenplay the main character (Gambino) is facing a life or death in a kidnapping situation, where he spends his last possible minutes in a firefight between his crew and the cops. Gambino shows regret in his decision and repeats several times that “he justs want to live for ever”.
Another song on the list that I think was the crown jewel was “3005”. If I had to listen to only one song on this album ever again, it would be this one. Definitely on the farther end of the pop spectrum beat wise, but Gambino shows off his skills rapping and even throws in talking through the lyrics similar to another breakout artist in rap music, Macklemore(who was actually supposed to be featured in Last Night). It does not surprise me that this is the first song off of the album to be released to the public. It touches on a genuine note of trust in a relationship as the chorus says “No matter what you say or what you do, when I’m alone I’d rather be with you, I’d be right by your side until 3005”. It also touches on the theme of fake friends, reemphasizing the meaning of the chorus. “This people[my friends] are my kinfolk, at least I think so, can’t tell. Cuz when them checks clear they’re not here. Cuz they don’t care” This is the truest line spoken out of the album, outside of “The Last Night”. 3005 is definitely on my To Get list. I rated it a 9.5/10-the highest on the album-with the only flaw being that the very end of the song did not end as strongly as I had hoped it would. Gambino knew what he was doing putting this as the flagship of this album.
Gambino’s second album definitely brings good songs to the table and even has a short film behind it to illustrate what the songs just can’t. Not all of the songs on this album are hits, Gambino is still relatively new in the music industry(His first album, Camp, was only released in late 2011, only two and a half years ago) and he still needs to fine tune his sound. However, when Glover turns into Gambino he definitely leaves the humor behind and is able to create a whole new, completely serious personality for himself. A personality that is able to create waves on Nielsen and Billboard charts indiscriminately.