Mixtape Review | Childish Gambino – Sick Boi

Click HERE to download this mixtape

This mixtape was released on June 5th in 2008. Since Gambino’s new album, PHAROS, is being premiered on September 2nd, I decided that I’d try to go ahead and get all of his previous work outta the way. So yeah. I’m gonna do a Childish Gambino Marathon. He’s one of my favorite rappers of all time, and I just recently realized that I’ve never reviewed any of his shit. You know what’s weird? I’ve always listed him as one of my favorite rappers, but his earliest project that I listened to completely was R O Y A L T Y. This should be a really fun marathon. Childish Gambino was the rapper who got me into Hip Hop. I was familiar with Donald Glover through his stand up specials on Comedy Central. Man… I’m really about to give y’all the whole story I guess… Alright guys, settle in. This is gonna be one long ass preamble. I got into Hip Hop for all the wrong reasons. As a lot of you may know, I’m SUPER mixed. I didn’t even know or accept the fact that I’m black until I was like 12 years old. I legitimately thought that I was Indian. Man, this is fucking embarrassing. I wasn’t the smartest kid as you can probably already tell… My mom is from Trinidad, which I thought was in India. Lmao. Man. I’m just now realizing how fucking pathetic this shit is. I mean, I knew that Trinidad was in the Caribbean, but I thought that the West Indies were literally a part of India. My mom had to point it out on a map for me. Hmm… I guess I was just a self hating black kid because now that I think about it, I KNEW that my Dad was mixed with black. I guess I just always chose to identify as something else… I don’t even really identify as a black person today. Well, actually that’s obviously not true considering the name of this website, but when people rudely ask me my race I just tell them I’m mixed. If I’m taking a survey or something I’ll say I’m black tho. I know identity issues are a common thing for mixed people, but I guess I just didn’t talk to that many other mixed kids. You’re probably wondering what the fuck this has to do with Hip Hop & Childish Gambino… Well, here’s the REALLY fucked up part… As soon as I found out that I was black, I basically turned into the main act of a minstrel show. I remember telling my mom that I “needed” to start listening to “ghetto” music because I was black. I know. As I said earlier, I got into Hip Hop for all the wrong reasons. I started listening to the mainstream Rap that was on the radio; not because I actually liked it, but because I thought that that’s what black people were supposed to do. This was just when I was first starting to get into Hip Hop tho. I only knew like 5 or 6 songs. My sister was helping me get into “ghetto music,” as I called it. We were both pretty big fans of Donald Glover’s stand up comedy, so she played me some of his shit, and I really liked. Well, she didn’t really play it FOR me. I just happened to be in the room while she was playing it out loud. I didn’t say anything to her about it, but as soon as she left the room I went to YouTube and searched “donald glover rap music.” I remember seeing a bunch of videos pop up, and I was like “What the fuck is Childish Gambino? I’m looking for DONALD GLOVER, not this childish asshole.” Again, I wasn’t the smartest kid. I eventually realized my dumb ass mistake, and the first video I clicked on was Freaks & Geeks. Yup. That’s the song that got me into Hip Hop. I mean, it’s not like I immediately started listening to only dope shit after that. My iPod still had shit like Lil Wayne, Tyga, Drake… Pretty much the entire Young Money roster. Anyway, about the whole Black stereotype thing… I didn’t even really shake that stuff until halfway through 2015 to be honest. You can see a lot of it in my earlier writing. I intentionally used poor grammar and said the N word to try to fit all the black stereotypes. I think that’s where the “OG” Nick Marsh nickname came from too. My dumb ass even purchased a chain… A CHAIN. Fuck, man. You wanna know how I realized that what I was doing was wrong? It took a suburban white kid calling me a “wannabe nigger” for me to start being myself. I know… Pretty fucked up stuff. That insult really hurt me, man. There are so many layers to that shit. It’s like, when he said “wannabe,” it almost made me say “I’m not a wannabe; I AM a nigger.” Catching myself thinking like that made it hurt even more tho. This is what I was talking about when I said that I was the main act in a minstrel show. Shit like that really makes me wish I could forget everything about my childhood. I don’t want y’all to take this the wrong way… I mean, I really did think like that before. This isn’t easy to confess. I’m not as ignorant about stuff like that anymore tho. I don’t know why I was so stupid. I don’t know why I thought that my race had such a deep connection to how I was supposed to function as a human being. Honestly… I STILL kinda find it hard to believe that a lot of mixed people go through identity issues like this. Nobody ever really talks about this stuff. Not with me at least. I guess it kinda makes sense that Childish Gambino’s music resonated with me so much because he always rapped about not feeling black enough. Well… Anyway, now that we got the all the soft, emotional shit outta the way, let’s check this mixtape out. This was the first project he ever released as far as I know. I couldn’t find any production credits for it… If anyone knows who made the beats on this shit please let me know. I’m just gonna assume that the entire thing is self produced. Alright, here we go.

Track 1: Easy (Intro)

This beat is dope… Hmm… I feel like I should just go ahead and mention this right away. This mixtape is titled Sick Boi for a reason… He was literally sick when he recorded this shit, so you can probably already imagine what that means for his delivery and pronunciation. His nose was stuffy, so he couldn’t really pronounce his Ns or Ms. I don’t even know why he would bother recording this tape when he couldn’t breathe properly. Why didn’t he just wait until his cold was gone? Whatever… I guess it’s not that big of a deal. It’s definitely gonna make this shit harder to enjoy tho. If you’ve heard any of his work prior to Because The Internet, you should hopefully know that most of his lyrics revolve around being a nerd. I didn’t even know this was a thing until a few minutes ago; his earlier music is classified as “Nerdcore.” It’s just nerdy Hip Hop I guess. So would Czarface be Nerdcore? They rap about a lot of nerdy shit. What about MF DOOM? That fool literally dresses up as a super villain… Whatever. I’m putting too much thought into this Nerdcore subgenre. All you need to know is that he’s a prideful dork. Man… It’s really hard for me to get past his delivery. He really shouldn’t have done this when he was sick. That was just a bad idea. The hook is just him saying “swag it out” over and over again. It’s a lot more cringe worthy on paper than it is in the actual song for me personally tho. I don’t really mind it for some reason. This is a really well produced song for his first mixtape. I’m sorry, but this fool sounded EXACTLY like Wayne on this shit. “They used to say a nigga lame when I started to rap / Now them fake fuck niggas askin’ me for a track / Pokin’ me on Facebook tryin’ to be my friend / Nigga, you get your face took you ask me one more ‘gain.” I feel like this is objectively a heavily flawed song, but I fuck with it personally. To be honest, I think I might be a Gambino stan. Can you blame me tho? He’s the reason I got into Hip Hop, which is literally my favorite… It’s my favorite uh… Well, it’s my favorite thing in general I guess. This song may contain some cringe inducing lyrics for the average listener, and the fact that he sounds like Lil Wayne due to his cold is annoying as fuck, but I love the beat, and his flow was nice on this shit. This is dope to me. 4/5

Track 2: Fire

Oh shit. This beat is dope af. Eeeeeh. I’m not really feelin’ the first verse. It’s like a blend of Nerdcore and Swag Rap. His delivery is really getting to me now. The effects that he put into this song are kinda hard to take seriously. The hook is decent. I wasn’t really feelin’ the second verse either. This is… Uh… This is bad… Yeah, I really didn’t like this song. The beat was great, but pretty much everything else about this song is just… Nah. This is the kinda shit I would’ve loved when I was first getting into Hip Hop tho. However, I can’t fuck with this shit these days. This song is wack to me. 2/5

Track 3: I’m A Winner Feat. Amber Petty

This is the only song from this mixtape that I’d heard before starting this review. I remember being really confused when I first heard it. I seriously thought it was Wayne. I didn’t know why his pronunciation seemed so weird. One of my sister’s friends made her a mix CD—yeah I know that’s lame af lmao—and this song was on it. I didn’t know that it was from a mixtape called Sick Boi, but I doubt that my dumb ass would’ve been able to figure out that he was actually sick when he recorded this shit anyway. It’s starting now. This beat is dope af. I actually enjoyed the first verse. “My hoodie canary yellow, but I’m bright on my own / Most haters out there take naps like combs / I never sleep; I’m always on my grind / I never eat unless a rapper spits a rhyme.” I’m honestly kinda shocked by how good the production quality on this mixtape is so far. I was expecting this shit to be full of poorly mixed struggle beats, and have some annoying ass DJ yelling all over it. This almost sounds like an album tho. “Haters got a shook core like Pac.” He’s been rapping about his haters a lot. I don’t really know if I dislike that or not. I guess it’s just an observation. The hook is really dope. It sounds like he’s exaggerating his southern accent tho. Amber Petty sounded a lot better on this song when I played it in the car too. She still sounds good here tho. It just feels kinda different, ya know?  I guess Gambino’s goal with the second verse was to uplift losers. He’s just telling people to enjoy their lives and work hard. “I know the world’s tough; I was just like you / I used to eat Lay’s, now my chips are blue.” The second verse was dope. I really like this song. Again, his stuffy nose is annoying as fuck, but aside from that I don’t really have any problems with this track. I guess the outro where he was telling the listener to “two step” and “walk it out” was kinda cringe worthy. I still really like this song tho. This is dope af to me. 5/5

Track 4: Tru Dudes Feat. MC Chris

I’m not familiar with this MC Chris guy, but I just looked up his Wikipedia page. Apparently he’s a popular “Nerdcore” rapper. I can’t believe there’s a subgenre called Nerdcore. That just seems so weird to me for some reason. Why does there need to be an entire subgenre for that? Fuck it; it doesn’t matter. This song is starting now. Oh God. The way this song starts so abruptly is really jarring. I hate when songs start like this. This beat is nothing special. This first verse from Gambino is cool tho. I don’t know how I feel about this hook. It’s not really bad, but it doesn’t do much for me. What the fuck? Why the hell is the pitch of MC Chris’ voice shifted up? There’s no way in hell his voice is really that high. What the fuck… I just looked it up… His voice really IS that high… Are you fuckin’ shitting me right now? He sounds like Andy Milonakis. Oh shit… He did the voice for MC Pee Pants and Hesh on Aqua Teen Hunger Force & Sealab 2021 respectively. I remember him now. I can’t believe this dude is a rapper. I’m sorry, but I just can’t get behind that voice. Of all the occupations you could possibly have, rapper is probably the last thing I would’ve chosen for somebody with a voice like that. Goddamn. Wow. I thought Gambino’s stuffy nose was bad, but this dude is on another level. I’m sorry, but nah. I can’t fuck with this one. The beat was nothing special. I wasn’t really feelin’ the hook. Both of these guys just sounded terrible on the track. This is wack to me. 2/5

Track 5: Red Alert

This beat… Nah… I’m not feelin’ this beat. It kinda sounds like it isn’t mixed properly. Dude, fuuuuck. I can’t take his delivery on this shit. I can’t wait ’til I get to the next mixtape so I don’t have to hear him rap with a stuffy nose. I wasn’t really feelin’ the first verse. I love the way the beat changes for the hook, but the hook itself is kinda corny to me. I feel like every single song on this tape has been a diss to Gambino’s “haters.” Nah, I’m not feelin’ this shit. His delivery is just so annoying to me, and I wasn’t feelin’ the beat or the hook. This is wack to me. 2/5

Track 6: Love Is Crazy Feat. Eugene Cordero

This tape is going downhill fast. This beat is cool, but I’m not really feelin’ this sung hook from Gambino. I can already tell I’m not gonna be feelin’ this since I don’t like love songs. This exaggerated southern accent is really over the top. I’m not feelin’ the first verse. Eugene’s verse was absolutely terrible. His flow was wack af. It just ended. That’s it. Yeah, this song… This isn’t good. I like the production, but aside from that this is fucking wack. 2/5

Track 7: My Hoodie Feat. Chaz Kangas

I’m not feelin’ this intro verse. Someone’s beat boxing in the background. Maybe it’s Chaz Kangas. Okay, the beat just dropped. It’s cool I guess. I’m not feelin’ this hook. This motherfucker really made a song about an article of clothing. Well, to be fair, a lot of rappers make songs about chains and shit. “My hoodie so dope / My hoodie so tight / My hoodie in school ’cause my hoodie so bright.” Wow, this is REALLY fucking lame. Oh my fucking God. This final verse from Chaz Kangas is fucking horrible. This is what I think it would sound like if my white 8th grade social studies teacher tried to rap. Nah. This is my least favorite song on the tape so far. This is wack af. 1/5

Track 8: Fresh

Jesus, this tape just keeps getting worse and worse… Nooo… This is bad… This would be a cool beat for someone like T.I. or Lil Wayne, but Gambino just doesn’t fit over this type of production at all to me. I just can’t take this shit seriously. “My hoodie lightsaber like Darth Vader.” I’m pretty sure that’s the third time that he’s likened his hoodie to a lightsaber on this mixtape. He’s been talking about his hoodie a lot throughout this whole project. It’s really fuckin’ corny. I’m not feelin’ this song. That line where he said “I’m the reason why your new baby brother was born” was kinda cool, but aside from that this shit is wack to me. 2/5

Track 9: ‘Til I Die

This beat is dope. The first verse was fine. The hook is tolerable. I just listened to the whole song. It’s decent. I wouldn’t ever wanna listen to this again personally, but maybe I would like it if he was rapping without a cold. I don’t know. It’s just not that good of a song. I’m pretty indifferent towards this track. I won’t be coming back to it, but I can’t really say it’s bad. His Sick Boi delivery is still annoying as shit tho. 3/5

Track 10: So Sick Wit It

The intro to this song feels like it lasts forever. Alright the first verse is starting now. This beat is cool. Jesus fucking Christ man… I just can’t stand this delivery. The exaggerated Southern accent is so over the top. That would’ve been bad enough by itself. The cold that he had when he recorded this shit just adds insult to injury. I don’t even know how anyone could enjoy this. It’s just not good to me at all. I mean, it’s not the worst shit I’ve ever heard in my life, but there’s no way I could ever see myself enjoying this. This is wack to me. 2/5

Track 11: Assassins Feat. Nick Packard & DC Pierson

Alright, last song. This is a pretty short tape, but it’s taking me a REALLY long time to listen to. Probably because it’s not good… Alright, this one’s starting now. As most of you probably know, Donald Glover started out as an actor, and, as far as I can tell, every single feature on this tape is another actor that he’s worked with before. I think he did a similar thing on R O Y A L T Y; he had Tina Fey rapping on one of those songs if I’m not mistaken. So yeah, they’re not real rappers. Well, I think MC Chris might be… DC Pierson is rapping on the first verse. It’s actually not bad. I mean, yeah, he sounds super amateurish, but it’s WAY better than I thought it would be. It’s not great, but it’s easily the best feature on the tape so far. I guess that’s not really saying much… This beat is really shitty. Wow. Nick Packard’s verse was surprisingly tolerable too. He actually had some cool lines. That Pinky & The Brain line was legitimately dope. Gambino’s verse was fine… Uh… I guess this song is alright. I wouldn’t ever have the desire to play it again, but I don’t really think it’s bad. 3/5

Final Thoughts:

Nah. This isn’t a good mixtape. It’s just barely tolerable. Let’s get into the most obvious flaw that I’ve been talking about throughout this whole review: Gambino’s delivery. I don’t know what the motherfuck he was thinking when he decided to record this shit with a cold. That pretty much ruined this whole tape for me. Also, the over the top southern accent was really annoying. Some of the electronic sounding production was kinda cool, but aside from that and a couple entertaining tracks this just isn’t a good project. I would only recommend this to the most hardcore Gambino stans, but I don’t even know if they’d be able to look past the delivery. I got two good songs outta this. I guess that’s better than nothing. It’s mediocre as a whole tho.

Favorite Song: I’m A Winner

Least Favorite Song: My Hoodie




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