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This EP was released on March 8th in 2011. I’m pretty excited for this project. I’ve never listened to it all the way through, but I’ve heard most of the songs, and everything I’ve heard has been great so far. It also only lasts 20 minutes, so this review shouldn’t take me too long. Just like with the previous project, every song is produced by Childish Gambino & Ludwig Göransson. Alright, here we go.
Track 1: Be Alone
I don’t think I’ve ever listened to the full version of this song. Like I said in my Culdesac review, when I was first getting into Hip Hop I really didn’t like sung hooks, so as soon as I heard Gambino sing “I don’t wanna be alone” I stopped listening to the song. Again, I was a pretty closed-minded listener. Alright, it’s starting now. Yeah, I’m still not really feelin’ this hook. It’s a bit too dramatic for me. The beat’s dope. The first verse was great. “I try to clear my mind of thoughts that only slow me down / Like when these niggas called me ‘faggot‘ and we homies now / But we are not homies; I just keep you around / ‘Cause all your talkin’ is the noise I need to kill the sound / Of all these voices tellin’ me no one can help me out.” Man, Childish Gambino ALWAYS says the most relatable shit for me. It’s kinda crazy that the rapper who I relate to the most is the one who got me into Hip Hop. I still can’t really get behind this hook tho. Fuck. I love the beat, and the first verse was great; the hook is just too slow and too dramatic. I loved the second verse too. Man… I really WISH I liked this song more than I actually do. The hook just really holds it back for me. It’s definitely not a bad song. I actually think it’s really well done. I just can’t get behind it personally. 3/5
Track 2: Freaks & Geeks
Wow. Alright, here it is. This is the song that made me like this kinda music. That music video above this paragraph is the video that got me into Hip Hop. I was about to say something really dramatic and corny, but I won’t. This is the first Hip Hop song that I learned all the lyrics to. I already explained how this song got me into Hip Hop when I reviewed Sick Boi, so if you wanna here about that read the preamble to that review. First of all, this beat is fucking incredible. The melody of those bells just sounds so good. I love the structure of this song too. It’s just two fantastic verses with a short break in between. I guess that’s kinda why I always disliked songs with hooks. Yeah. That’s right. I used to dislike hooks. I just never understood why someone would risk ruining a song with a weak hook. I still prefer songs without them, but I obviously understand their purpose. The first verse of this song was great, but he REALLY went the fuck off on that second verse. I love his flow when he says “I’m dominant / Niggas call me faggot ’cause they closeted; I’m hot as shit / Comin’ out the backside of a rocket ship; It’s monster shit / You dudes are the opposite of Loch Nesses; respond to this / We can squash the beef right now like sausages.” I guess he must’ve heard the criticisms of his flow on Culdesac ’cause he really stepped it up on this song. “Nigga can’t you tell that my sample of Adele / Was so hot I got these hood niggas blowin’ up my cell? / Swag out the ass, I’m the man; fuck chico / Took the G out your waffle, all you got left is your ego.” He fuckin’ killed this shit. He uses like a thousand different flows—hyperbole—on this song. “Runnin’ the game / Fuck am I sayin’? / Runnin’ the Earth / Give me a month / Told all you niggas I’m in it to win it ’cause havin’ an Emmy just wasn’t enough.” I fucking love this song, for obvious reasons. This is one of my favorite songs ever recorded. I definitely fuck with this shit. It’s absolutely dope af. 5/5
Track 3: My Shine
This is the only song from this project that I’d never heard before starting this review. Hmm… This beat actually sounds familiar. Maybe I HAVE heard this song before. The beat is dope af. Gambino’s goin’ the fuck in on the first verse right now. He killed that shit. The sung hook isn’t bad. Again, his vocals aren’t that great, but they get the job done. The second verse was awesome too. “Honestly, I’m rappin’ ’bout everything I go through / Everything I’m sayin’, I’m super sayin’ like Goku / Fuck nerdcore, fuck backpack / Fuck rap cool, I make cool rap.” I really fuck with this song. I love the verses, and the beat is dope af, but the vocals on the hook are kinda weak. I still definitely fuck with this song tho. This is dope to me. 4/5
Track 4: Lights Turned On
I’ve only heard this song once, but I remember that I really liked it. Again, Donald really stepped his flow up for this project. This is probably the most uptempo song he’d ever done up to this point. The first verse was dope af. The shit he’s rapping about isn’t super interesting, but I think he did a good job with the subject matter. The hook is pretty dope. I kinda wish he didn’t start the second verse off by saying “SWAG,” but it’s not really that big of a deal I guess. This song really reminds me of Stronger by Kanye West. It’s pretty obvious that he got inspiration from that song. He even uses the same flow that Kanye used in that song for a few lines in this one. The second verse was dope. I fuck with this song. This is dope to me. 4/5
Track 5: Not Going Back Feat. Beldina Malaika
I love this song. This beat is dope af. This is probably my second favorite song on the whole project. I love the grandiose production, and Gambino fucking ripped this shit apart. “These fuckin’ MCs want their asses back / Don’t you know that I’m a rapist? Ask a track / Whiskey-sippin’; wanna drink the whole bottle / But these smart middle-class black kids need a role model.” He fucking killed this shit. I don’t even really mind the sung hook. I love everything about this song. He killed the second verse, and Beldina Malaika did her thing on the outro too. This song is dope af. 5/5
This EP is fucking great. It’s easily the best project Gambino had released up to this point. It’s just a collection of five great songs. Well, I wasn’t really feelin’ the first track personally, but I think it’s a well done song. It just wasn’t for me. The rest of this EP is fucking great tho. If you’re a Gambino fan you NEED to hear these songs. The production on here is super polished. It sounds like he had a whole fuckin’ orchestra performing while he was rapping. This Ludwig Göransson guy seriously doesn’t get enough credit. More people need to work with him. Gambino killed every single verse on this project. There’s not a single wack verse on here. There aren’t any consistent flaws in this project. It’s crazy how much Gambino improved in a year. I definitely fuck with this EP. It’s great.
Favorite Song: Not Going Back
Least Favorite Song: Be Alone
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not going back was the song that got me into writing poetry !