Mixtape Review | Childish Gambino – Culdesac

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This tape was released on July 3rd in 2010. I KNOW there’s at least some good music on this project ’cause I’ve heard a handful of songs from it. I guess this is when people really started taking Gambino seriously. It’s apparently common knowledge that everything before this tape was wack because I recently had someone ask me why the fuck I was reviewing all the “shitty preCuldesac mixtapes.” I’m just glad I can finally start listening to good music. I’m a huge Gambino fan, but to be honest I didn’t even know that any of those pre-Culdesac tapes existed until a year ago I think. Anyway, I’m expecting this to be dope. As far as I can tell, every song is produced by Childish Gambino & Ludwig Göransson. Alright, here we go.

Track 1: Difference

Okay, I can already tell that having Ludwig Göransson as a co-producer was a great idea. The production quality on this tape is miles ahead of the previous work. This beat is dope af. The first verse was great. Wow I just got REALLY sidetracked… It’s been like an hour since I worked on this shit. Anyway, I’ve listened to this whole song, and it’s awesome. I know this is only the first track, but it sounds like an intro to a real album rather than a free mixtape. This is dope af to me. 5/5

Track 2: Hero (Brass by Chris Lane)

This is one of the few songs that I’ve already heard from this tape. Man, I haven’t heard this song in forever. I used to LOVE this track. I deleted it from my iTunes ’cause it got kinda played out tho. This is seriously bringing me back to the days when I was first getting into Hip Hop. God, I love this beat. YOOO. This is crazy. I forgot how fucking dope this song is. I don’t know if I’ve ever felt nostalgia on quite this level. This is crazy. This beat is awesome. Gambino’s flow is smooth as hell on this too. He killed the first verse. FUUUCK. I love this shit. The production sounds so triumphant. Gambino’s vocals sound kinda flat on the hook, but that’s just a nitpick. It’s not bad enough for me to wanna penalize the song. The second verse was awesome. Just so you guys know, you might not wanna take this review too seriously… Since Gambino is the artist that got me into Hip Hop, I’m slightly stannish towards him. The third verse was dope af, and I love the additional percussion that comes in for the final recital of the hook. Gambino was a dope rapper before this tape, but he wasn’t that great of a songwriter. That’s not the case anymore. I fucking love this song. This is dope af. 5/5

Track 3: I Be On That

This beat is dope af. The first verse was dope. The hook’s decent. Gambino has so much charisma on this track. You know who would’ve been a good feature? ScHoolboy Q would’ve sounded perfect over this beat. Same goes for Danny Brown. The second verse was pretty good. I feel like he could’ve stepped his flow up a little bit tho. Aside from that and the lackluster hook, this is a really dope song. I fuck with this. 4/5

Track 4: Got This Money

This beat is dope. It sounds kinda Popish, but it’s tolerable. The sung hook is pretty sappy, but it’s not terrible. He sings the entire first verse. It was alright I guess. I like him as a singer, but it’s clear that his voice wasn’t where it’s at today when he recorded this shit. It sounds pretty flat when you compare it to a song like Shadows. The acoustic guitar that comes in for the second recital of the hook sounds really good. The second verse where he’s actually rapping was dope. This isn’t for me tho. He was on his Drake shit when he wrote this song. It’s a bit too Poppy for me. It’s decent tho. I still think it’s a well done track. I just wouldn’t ever have the desire to play this again. 3/5

Track 5: So Fly

Oh no… This is another Poppy love song… I’m really not feelin’ this… I guess I’m not a stan after all. This shit is wack to me. The production is really low key, and Donald’s singing sounds really flat. Hmmm… This melody that he used for the hook sounds really familiar… Oh, he’s interpolating Ain’t No Mountain High Enough by Diana Ross. Yeah… Nah… That’s not a good thing. Not for me at least. In case you can’t tell already, this isn’t a Hip Hop song. Lol. This is just really not my kinda song. Why the fuck would I wanna feel like I’m listening to Ain’t No Mountain High Enough? The production is a lot more grandiose during the second half of the song, but nah. This just isn’t for me at all. This is wack to me. 2/5

Track 6: You Know Me

Alright here we go. This is obviously one of those tracks that I’ve already heard before. It’s one of Gambino’s most popular songs, mostly because Kendrick Lamar remixed it and tore it apart. Fun fact: Look Out For Detox was actually the first Kendrick song I ever heard. I think. Actually that’s not true. It’s the SECOND Kendrick song I ever heard. I kinda prefer his version, but I really like this song too, which is why I used GarageBand to remix this shit with both of their verses. Lemme talk about Gambino’s verse tho. His flow isn’t too flashy, but lyrically his verse is HARD as fuck. That’s right. Childish Gambino had a hard ass verse. It’s not like he’s physically threatening anyone. He’s just rapping about how he’s better than you. After every 8 bars he says “Bitch, you know me,” but the way he says it is kinda weird to me. It kinda sounded like “Bitch, get the helmet” to me when I first heard it. To be honest, I don’t think I realized that he was saying “you know me” until like six months after I first heard this song. The first verse was cool, but he really went in on that second verse. “This is not a joke; you won’t listen to what I’m sayin’ / And I promise to destroy any nigga who think I’m playin’ / Know my verses can be silly, but I’m choosing not to spray rounds / My verse is pedophiles on the playground, okay now?” I really fuck with this song, but, again, his flow is kinda lackluster. It’s pretty goddamn boring compared to Kendrick’s verse. It’s still dope tho. I fuck with this song. 4/5

Track 7: Let Me Dope You

I heard this song a few times when I was first getting into Hip Hop, but I remember disliking it. I was already turned off by the title, which I thought sounded corny, and then I think I also disliked the hook. It’s been forever since I’ve heard this. Hopefully my mind’s changed. It’s starting now. Woah… This beat is annoying as fuck. It kinda reminds me of Death Grips. Kinda. Once the percussion comes in the primary loop is more tolerable. I remember this first verse. It’s dope af. The hook is awesome. That Lil Jon sample is perfect. Why the fuck didn’t I like this before? Wait a minute… I’ve never heard this song before. I mean, I HAVE, but not really… What I heard was a mashup of this song with 99 Problems by Jay Z. The reason I didn’t like the hook was because whoever made that remix didn’t mix it properly, so the vocals weren’t synced very well. So I’ve heard the verses and the hook, but not over this beat. The second verse was great. I really fuck with this song. The beat is still pretty annoying, but aside from that this shit is dope. Especially that first verse. I loved his flow when he said “Treat niggas like pussy; go hard on ’em / Watch the swagga get swiped like a card bottom.” This is dope to me. 4/5

Track 8: Do Ya Like

FUCK YES. I fucking love this song. This is another one of the first Hip Hop songs that I fell in love with. I remember the first time I heard it; I didn’t like it because I didn’t like singing in my Hip Hop music. Yeah, I was a pretty closed-minded listener. It’s kinda weird tho because I liked Drake back then. I don’t know. Well, I gave it a few more listens a couple months later, and I fucking loved it. I think the first time I heard this first verse was in another mashup. Yeah, I had kind of a weird obsession with Childish Gambino mashups a long time ago. It’s kinda weird how many of them there are. Anyway, let’s talk about this beat for a second… You’d think that sampling Adele would be kinda lame and too Poppy, but I don’t see how they could’ve done it any better. This beat is absolutely dope af. I guess this IS kind of a Poppy song, but it’s really well done. I love this song. I guess the hook is kinda lame too, but it’s catchy as hell. I love that #DonaldForSpiderman line in the second verse too. This is dope af to me. 5/5

Track 9: I’m Alright

I just listened to this whole song. It’s not bad, but I don’t know if I’d ever wanna come back to this. The beat was nothing special. It has a really simple structure too. It’s just one introspective, Drake-like verse and a sung outro. It’s the shortest song on the tape, and it feels kinda like an interlude. It’s cool I guess. I just won’t be listening to it again. 3/5

Track 10: Glory

This beat is cool. The first verse was dope. This hook is nice. The second verse was great. The song just ended. Huh. It was dope. I just don’t really have anything to say. Nothing about it really stands out that much. It kinda feels like a more complete version of the previous song. His singing on the hook still sounds kinda flat, but I didn’t really mind it. I enjoyed the song. I’m just really not blown away. I don’t know how much I’ll come back to this, but it was entertaining enough for me to call this dope. I fuck with this. 4/5

Track 11: Fuck It All

This is another song that I’ve only heard the verses and hook too. It’s not because I found a mashup on YouTube tho. I actually heard a remix of it from a guy called J. Jones. He’s a graphic designer who makes alternate album covers. I guess he’s a producer too. He made a mixtape with a bunch of songs from Culdesac & Camp that he remixed. Here’s the link to his art blog, and here’s a link to the aforementioned mixtape. This’ll be my first time hearing the original version. Alright, it’s starting now. This hook sounds a lot better over the original beat. This beat is dope af. This beat is a lot better than the one J. Jones made. No offense. I still think J. Jones is a dope producer. His Big K.R.I.T. remix tape is a lot better tho in my opinion. The first verse sounded really dramatic over J. Jones’ beat. It fits better over this one in my opinion. I’m not in love with the hook. The verses are dope af tho. Especially the second one. He killed this shit. I really fuck with this song. If it weren’t for the second verse this song wouldn’t be that great, but that verse was awesome. This is dope af. 5/5

Track 12: I’m On It (Additional vocals by Amani Starnes)

This beat is dope af. The vocals on the hook sound pretty discordant to me. The first verse was great. It sounds like it ends a little too early tho, almost as if he ran out of bars. The second verse was really dope. Fuck, man. If this hook were a little better this song would be fantastic. It’s not tho. The hook isn’t so bad that it makes the song unenjoyable. It just doesn’t really add anything for me. I still fuck with the song as a whole tho. This is dope to me. 4/5

Track 13: Put It In My Video

Oh God. I’m not feelin’ this hook at all. The beat is dope af tho. The first verse was alright I guess. The subject matter just isn’t for me. He’s just rapping about how he wants to smash a bunch of women. The second verse was… Nah. I’m not feelin’ this one. It sounds like he’s just rapping about how he wants to fuck every girl in the world. This isn’t the kinda shit I like hearing people rap about. This is wack to me. 2/5

Track 14: These Girls Feat. Garfunkel & Oates

I don’t know who the fuck Garfunkel & Oates are. Hopefully they don’t suck. Oh no… Oh noooo… This is a SUPER sappy love song. Donald’s singing about makin’ this chick breakfast… Eugh. Nah. I can already tell that this isn’t for me. Well, this is actually more of a break up song. I’m still not feelin’ it. I’m not feelin’ the hook from Garfunkel & Oates. I don’t know which one of them that is singing. It kinda sounds like they’re both singing at the same time. I don’t like a single thing about this song so far. Hopefully Donald comes through with a dope verse at the end or something. Nope. He didn’t; he sings this entire song. This hook is just so… Nah. This is easily the wackest song on the album. I’m not feelin’ this one at all. It’s some of the softest shit I’ve ever heard. This is wack af to me. 1/5

Track 15: The Last

This beat is dope af. Goddamn. He’s goin’ the fuck in right now. This is awesome. He’s rapping about how he never fit in in school since he was a black nerd. He eventually goes on to describe how he gained the confidence to start being himself. Damn. The song just ended. This is fucking awesome. It’s just one long ass verse. He killed this shit. This is definitely one of my favorite songs on the tape. I don’t have any problems with this one. I wish he rapped even longer than he did. I love this song. This is dope af to me. 5/5

Final Thoughts:

This tape is pretty good. It’s so much better than all the other shit he’d released up to this point. You can tell that there was a lot more effort put into this project than any of the other ones. Everything from the quality of the production to the way the songs are structured has improved exponentially. This Ludwig Göransson guy really knows what the fuck he’s doing. This was the most polished project that Gambino had released up to this point. It was clear that Gambino was getting more serious about being a rapper with both of the I AM JUST A RAPPER tapes, but this is the first project where I feel like Gambino proved himself to be a worthwhile artist. He was writing good verses for the other tapes, but he wrote good songs for this one. This really feels like a free album. It’s dope.

Favorite Song: Do Ya Like

Least Favorite Song: These Girls




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