Many who hear the name Childish Gambino think of his character Troy on the show “Community”. I know I did at least. After skipping on “Camp,” I finally gave the guy a chance when I heard positive feedback from some peers and I don’t regret it one bit. Because of The Internet could be in my top 5 albums of 2013, despite its late release. The amount of effort and content compared to a lot of music today is phenomenal and is well appreciated.
Lately, a lot of artists are trying to incorporate a storyline behind their albums and I think Gambino has attacked the concept in the best way. Every song has a story behind it and when you read the screenplay that he wrote himself, it all makes sense. The play features Chance The Rapper, Jhene Aiko and even Rick Ross as his father… Yes, Rick Ross. The story is basically how ‘The Boy’ goes through life and is trying to find the true meaning of “Roscoe’s Wetsuit”.
In most of the songs on the album there is a crossover between him rapping and Gambino unexpectedly singing which many would use the cliché of him sounding like Drake. In sounds like Flight of The Navigator and Urn, Gambino uses his clean singing vocals to express the events happening in the storyline. Gambino even tapped into using artist Lloyd on my personal favorite, Telegraph Ave. (“Oakland”). Using lines like “foot on the gas, I’m just trying to pass. All the red lights and stop signs” over a smooth and serene instrumental is perfect for riding to a night.
The biggest song that’s sweeping the radio waves and another favorite is “3005”. Many picture it is a love song while Gambino explains it as a song about the reality of being alone. The heavy 808’s and synths give us mainstream feel but it has lyrics that are ten times more complex which makes this track something special.
Jhene Aiko adds input on the song Pink Toes. The dynamic duo has a previous track together (Bed Peace) that lives on Aiko’s EP Sail Out. In the song Pink Toes, Gambino explains how ‘The Boy’ is going broke after living off of his “mysterious” father for years. So he gains the idea of dealing drugs with his friend FAM and his “girlfriend” Naomi [Jhene Aiko] thinks it’s a bad idea. This is another one of my favorites on the album. Aiko displays her angelic voice to aid the piano-heavy track.
Gambino who produced the album with Ludwig Göransson, gives me a mix between producing styles of Kanye West and The Neptunes. Listening to the different songs on the album, I grasp the push of diversity of different genres. When I pay attention to the album, the thought of Kanye West’s YEEZUS comes to mind in what Gambino says is pushing music forward. As listening, you go through different moods of uptempo pounding techno beats to slow melodic harps which is a beautiful thing about the album.
Albums like this grab my attention more than others because it’s not the same as anything else out. Many scrutinize projects like this because it’s not “hip hop” or it’s too different. Your typical trap/twerk/party songs are also good to listen to, but get boring with age. With this album, Gambino tested the boundaries of not just hip hop but music in general. More people should pay attention to this guy.