Childish Gambino or Donald Glover as fans of his comedy or acting may better know him, released the follow-up to Camp, his debut album, at the tail end of 2013. While I haven’t given the Community much of a chance, I am a fan of Glover’s stand up comedy and enjoyed 2011’s Camp quite a bit. I was unsure of how because the internet would turn out because Camp was so experimental and ambitious that it left much to the imagination as to whether Gambino would be able to put out another solid album following the footsteps of his debut.
While not perfect, because the internet turned out to far exceed my expectations as a rap album. Gambino offered an incredible effort of lyricism, accompanied by very unique tracks including many, many samples. The instrumentals on this album stuck out because there’s so much variation when transitioning from track to track, but it somehow flows incredibly together as a full album. Gambino has a voice and style that you either love or hate, but regardless of your stance, it’s hard to argue that it doesn’t accent the tracks on this album seamlessly. Witty, pop-culture loaded, and often either humorous or emotional, Gambino produces a phenomenal flow on an abundance of 20 tracks (though some are only instrumental).
In addition to the album itself, Gambino released a 75-page screenplay and a short film to accent and promote the album. While the screenplay and short film are not a part of this review, the amount of creativity behind it is noteworthy. Gambino has certainly set the standards high for what’s to come from rappers in regard to innovation and creative ideas.
If I were to offer any constructive criticism, it’s that the samples and effects can be sometimes a little excessive and agitating. While the creativity behind the inclusion of these features is part of what makes the album’s sound so unique, there’s definitely a time and a place for everything, and some tracks such as No Exit feels like an overburden of vocal effects that doesn’t flow quite the way it should.
because the internet is easily one of the best rap albums I’ve listened to from 2013, and I’m certainly looking forward to what Gambino puts out in the future. None of the tracks really feel completely unwelcome, and there’s plenty to be enjoyed for anyone from the rap die-hards to casual listeners. There are great features from the likes of Chance the Rapper and Jhene Aiko for anyone who is a fan of the featured talent. Tracks such as Flight of the Navigator, Crawl, and The Worst Guys really stick out as some of the strongest tracks on the album while Sweatpants and No Exit are some sleeper tracks.
Childish Gambino’s second full-length album has far exceeded the expectations after his debut. Offering unique samples, fun beats, and enjoyable lyricism, because the internet has certainly earned its credibility as one of the best albums of 2013. Certainly worth checking out for fans of rap or just someone looking for something fresh to listen to.