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This album was released on November 15th in 2011. This was the latest project that Gambino had released when I was first getting into Hip Hop, but I just never got around to listening to it for some reason. As far as I know, I’ve only heard four songs from this album. Everything I’ve heard has been great tho. I’m definitely expecting this to be better than Culdesac. Hopefully it was his best project that he’d released up to this point. I really don’t have anything else to say before I get into this album. I just wanna listen to it. Every song is produced by Childish Gambino & Ludwig Göransson
Track 1: Outside
This beat is really dark. It’s great. Donald’s goin’ in on the first verse about not fitting in with the black kids at school. I usually don’t like choir vocals, but this hook actually sounds pretty goddamn good to me. This is a REALLY well produced track. This Ludwig Görannson guy is amazing. Seriously, why don’t more rappers work with him? He needs to hit the studio with Jay Electronica. Goddamn… That second verse is fucking amazing… He was describing the way his relationship with his cousin deteriorated, and how he started falling into certain stereotypes and not being himself. “Streets took you over; I want my cousin back / The world sayin’ what you are because you’re young and black / Don’t believe ‘em / You’re still that kid who kept the older boys from teasin’ / For some reason.” This is fucking awesome. The song just ended. Goddamn… This… Well, I just said it a couple sentences ago… I love this shit. This is dope af to me. 5/5
Track 2: Fire Fly
Hmm… Oh shit. I know I’ve heard this hook before. Maybe I heard this song without knowing it. This sounds REALLY familiar. Yeah, I’ve definitely heard this song already. The hook is dope. This sounds kinda Kanye-ish. The beat is dope af. The first verse was great. I don’t think I’ve ever heard these verses before, but this beat sounds sooo familiar… Oh shit; it sounds just like the beat from that song Miss Me by Drake. That’s what it is. The female vocals on the hook sound really good. Donald killed both of the verses. This really reminds me of Kanye a lot. In a good way tho. This is dope af to me. 5/5
Track 3: Bonfire
Remember that story I told about how I got into Hip Hop in my Sick Boi review? I told y’all that before I actually looked up “donald glover rap music” in YouTube, I heard my sister playing some of his music. The first video I ended up clicking on was Freaks & Geeks, but THIS is the song that I heard my sister playing, so in a way I guess you could say that this is really the song that got me into Hip Hop. Well, actually, my sister played 3 songs. They were Freaks & Geeks, this song, and one more that I’ll talk about later. This is the first one I heard tho, and it’s the one I wanted to hear when I was searching for his music on YouTube. It’s the second Childish Gambino song I found on YouTube, and it’s also the second song that I ever learned all the lyrics to. First of all, the beat in this song is fucking awesome. I bust a nut every time that bass guitar comes in. Sorry. That was inappropriate… Seriously tho, I love that beat, and this is coming from someone who normally dislikes guitars. I love the way it’s done in this song tho. Lyrically, this song is super braggadocios. He’s rapping about how he’s the greatest rapper and how he has a lot of sex. It’s not the most interesting song in terms of content, but he fucking ripped these verses to shreds. I love the hook in this song too. It’s simple, yet catchy, and it doesn’t overstay it’s welcome. It’s only two lines, and he only repeats it once. He killed the first verse. “Told me I was awful and that shit did not phase me / Tell me how I suck again, my memory is hazy / ‘You’re my favorite rapper now!‘ Yeah, dude, I better be / Or you can fuckin’ kiss my ass: Human Centipede.” He really snapped on the second verse tho. “I’m from the South, ain’t got no accent; don’t know why / So this rap is child’s play, I do my name like Princess Di.” There are just so many dope lines that I can quote from this song. “I put in work; ask Ludwig / Put my soul on the track like shoes did / Played this for my cousin, now he can’t even think straight / Black and white music? Now, nigga, that’s a mixed tape.” This song has pretty much the same structure as Freaks & Geeks. The only difference is that this one has a short hook. I really love both of these songs. If I had to pick one over the other as my favorite, I’d probably go with Freaks & Geeks. I still love this song tho. It’s dope af. 5/5
Track 4: All The Shine
Woah… This beat is dope af. I love the weird, almost disjointed sounding way that this song starts. The beat doesn’t really drop when you expect it to. Same goes for the beginning of the first verse. He did his thing on the first verse. There were a lot of dope lines in there. Oh God… Uh oh… I’m not feelin’ this hook… Gambino’s singing, and he doesn’t sound very good at all to be honest. I mean, the melody itself isn’t bad at all, but his vocals just sound completely flat on this shit. I’m also not in love with the dramatic way that the production crescendos. The second verse wasn’t bad… Man… I’m not really into this one… The beat is really well produced, and there were a lot of dope lines in here. He had a pretty toned down flow, but I think that actually complemented the production and the mood that the song seemed to be going for. I don’t even really think this is that bad of a song. I just really don’t like the hook personally. It’s a decent song tho. I just wouldn’t wanna listen to it again. 3/5
Track 5: Letter Home
Oh shit. I’m about halfway through this song already. I seriously thought I was still listening to the previous track. This feels like a leftover idea that they couldn’t figure out how to implement in the previous song. Why is this in a separate track tho? Why couldn’t they have used this as an outro or something? The beat kinda just sounds like a devolution of the previous one. The beat is pretty much the same, but all of the instruments aside from the violins are gone. Donald’s just singing on this song too. This is really too dramatic for me. I think it’s a well done track, but it’s definitely not something that I’d ever wanna listen to again. It’s not terrible. It’s just not for me. I’m not feelin’ it. 2/5
Track 6: Heartbeat
I think this is the third Childish Gambino song that I clicked on in YouTube. I didn’t like it at all when I first heard it. I love the beat, but the subject matter just isn’t for me. I also wasn’t a fan of the sung hook when I first heard it, but I don’t really mind it anymore. I don’t really think the hook is that good, but it’s not really bad either. The content really just doesn’t do it for me. It’s pretty much a break up song. He comes kinda close to sounding like a whiny Drake impersonator at some points, but he never really reaches that level of douchiness. I really liked his flow on the first verse. The lyrics were fine I guess. It definitely wasn’t bad. His flow gets better and better with each verse. I enjoyed this song. It’s definitely not one of my favorites. I’m pretty sure it was the closest thing Gambino had to a hit song at the time—this may still be the case idk—but I just never really loved it like everyone else. I’m sure it was mostly due to the lyrical content. I still think it’s dope. Just not as dope as a lot of other songs from him. 4/5
Track 7: Backpackers
I think this was the fifth or sixth Childish Gambino song that I ever heard. I love the beat, and Donald fucking murdered this shit. Lyrically, this is pretty much the most aggressive song he had ever released. It’s a diss to judgmental backpackers who criticize his music. I guess this is the closest thing we’ll ever get to a diss track from Gambino. It’s fucking awesome tho. “Fuck the cool kids; not Chuck Inglish / But people who think that hatin’ on me makes them distinguished / Like, ‘What is this nigga doin’? Rap is for real blacks / I hate that fucking faggot, man; he think that we feel that?‘ / Or ‘I wrote on rape culture my junior year at Brown / So I’m allowed to say what all his raps are about‘ / You better shut your mouth before I fuck it / You really hate my lyrics now or Kid Cudi’s, nigga?” This song has a very similar structure to that of Bonfire. He actually repeats the hook a second time after the final verse tho. Speaking of the second verse, he fucking murdered that shit even more than the first one. “Nigga got signed? It’s an anomaly / No cosign: trigonometry.” There are so many awesome lines like that in this song. I think this might actually be my favorite song on the album so far. I love the way he builds up to the last few lines of the last verse. He just kept on mocking the way his critics talked about him, and talked about how they were the “real blacks,” and then at the end he just shat all over them in an amazingly aggressive fashion. “Old niggas wanna assassinate me / ‘It’s a shame, these kids was supposed to save rap‘ / Fuck that, boat shoes and a wave cap / ‘He don’t give back; how the fuck a nigga say that?‘ / Summer in November I gave everyone a Maybach / Comin’ on that payback; comin’ on that mace took / I’m comin’ on that real shit; I’m comin’ on her Facebook / Fuck a backpacker with a rhino’s dick / I do me like a guy, no chick.” He fucking spazzed on this shit. I definitely fuck with this song. It’s dope af. 5/5
Track 8: L.E.S.
This beat is fucking incredible. I’m not in love with this hook tho. It’s decent. It definitely doesn’t really hurt the track that much. I just got through the first verse and the second recital of the hook. I feel pretty much the same way about this song that I do about Heartbeat. I’m not completely sold on the hook, but I like the way he sounds on the verses, and the beat is fantastic. The lyrical content isn’t really my cup of tea. This is a love song about some hipster girl. Not a lame hipster tho. A cool hipster. “You’s a hipster, bitch / Yo, but not in the lame way.” His flow on the second verse was really dope. Man, I really don’t like this hook. I liked the rest of the song tho… Fuck… You know what? I fuck with this song. I was gonna give this a 3 since his vocals on the hook sound pretty bad to me, but it’s not really wack enough for me to not enjoy the entire song. This is as close to a 3 as a song could get without being a 3. It’s dope tho. 4/5
Track 9: Hold You Down
Damn. Donald actually sounds pretty good singing on this hook. Oh, FUCK yes. This first verse is awesome. “White kids get to wear whatever hat they want / When it comes to black kids one size fits all.” I feel like Gambino raps about a lot of the shit I wish I could articulate. There are very few rappers who I can relate to as much as him. Ohhhh FUUUUCK. The way the beat switches up during the second verse is fucking incredible. GOOD FUCKING LORD. This beat is fucking amazing. Jesus fucking Christ… Donald is preaching the fucking truth on this second verse. “God knows what these white kids say and do / Dude you’re not not racist cause The Wire’s in your Netflix queue / Subtle racism / It’s hard to pin it ’cause you’d only understand if you were me for just a minute.” I wish I wrote this shit. I wish there was some fuckin’ poetry contest that took place at my school and I performed this verse to all the white kids. This one kid said somethin’ that was really bad / He said I wasn’t really black because I had a dad / I think that’s kinda sad / Mostly ’cause a lot of black kids think they should agree with that / If you’re a father, you should stick around if you could / ‘Cause even if you’re bad at it, you get Tiger Woods.” It’s almost like this verse was specifically written about my life. Goddamn. He fucking killed this second verse. I love the way he ended it too. “Aimin’ for the throne; Jay and Ye said to watch that / They ask me what I’m doin’, I say I’m stealin’ Rock back.” I fucking love this song. This is dope af to me. 5/5
Track 10: Kids (Keep Up)
I fucking love this beat. I’m not in love with the sung hook tho… Eh… The first verse was alright I guess. This is another love song. It’s not really the kinda thing I’d listen to on the regular. The production’s cool th0. That’s really the only thing that I like about it tho. That’s pretty much all I have to say about this one. I didn’t really like it personally; I think it’s a well done track tho. It just isn’t particularly appealing to me. It’s decent. 3/5
Track 11: You See Me
This is the third Childish Gambino song that I ever heard. The beat is dope. This is probably the most braggadocios song on the whole album. It’s kinda like Bonfire. “If I’m a faggot spell it right, I got way more than two G’s.” There are a LOT of dope lines like that in this song. This track is actually kinda weird tho. It’s really clear that he wasn’t being serious during the second verse. I’m pretty sure he’s trying to parody the stereotypical rapper who brags about having money and bitches. He’s just doing it better than most people who actually make music like that. He fuckin’ murdered that third verse tho. His flow just took off and he fuckin’ spazzed on that shit. “I got a bunch of jackanapes at the back of me / That’ll lacerate anyone in the back of a matinee / And laugh while they masturbatin’ all over your beaten body / Sick Boi forever, that Suburban Illuminati.” He killed this shit. The second verse was slightly lame to me, but I still really enjoyed this track. This is dope to me. 4/5
Track 12: Sunrise
This beat is dope af. The first verse was awesome. This feels kinda like an outro. Hmm… This hook sounds familiar. Maybe I’ve heard my sister singing it or something. The second verse was nice. Yeah, I fuck with this song. I don’t really have much to say about it. It really just feels like a good outro. I don’t have any problems with it. It’s a dope song. Whoever that was on the outro kinda sounded like Beyoncé. That’s neither here nor there tho. 4/5
Track 13: That Power
That… That Power? Wasn’t that the name of a shitty will.i.am song with Justin Bieber? Whatever… This song came out two years before that one anyway, so it doesn’t matter. It’s starting now. I’m not really sure how I feel about this hook. It’s alright I guess. This beat is dope af. The first verse is great. “Lovin’ white dudes who call me white and then try to hate / When I wasn’t white enough to use your pool when I was 8 / Stone Mountain, you raised me well / I’m stared at by Confederates but hard as hell.” The second verse was really dope too. I really fuck with this song. I just wish the hook was a little better. There’s a long ass outro at the end of the track. It’s just Donald telling a story about what happened on the bus ride home from summer camp. It’s pretty clear that this story leads into the events of Because The Internet. I usually don’t like long ass outros like this, but I didn’t really mind this one. The song’s dope. 4/5
This album is great. I honestly don’t really have much to say tho… It kinda just feels like EP, but extended to be the full length of an album. I think it’s really dope. The production was fantastic & Donald killed pretty much every verse on here. I wasn’t in love with all of the songs about relationships and shit, but that’s normal for me. The only consistent problem that I had with this album was some of the sung hooks. I really don’t think Donald was that good of a singer when he recorded this album. I think he was above average, but not enough for me to be able to enjoy it personally. However, aside from that I really think this album is great. I really wanna review Because The Internet right away, but I unfortunately have to get through R O Y A L T Y before I can do that. By the way, I’m REALLY sorry that this review took so long. This was my first week of school tho, so it was super difficult for me to get work done on this shit. That hopefully won’t be a problem once I get used to my schedule now. PHAROS will probably be out later tonight, so my review’ll be a few days late. I have a three day weekend tho, so it should be up by Monday. So yeah. I fuck with this album. It’s really dope.
Favorite Song: Hold You Down
Least Favorite Song: Letter Home
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My Wu-Name is Lucky Killah.
As far as this joint and Donald/Gambino’s discography as a whole it’s clear he’s fucking around and having fun, can it be borderline dumb at times due to trying too hard to parody the current market of music and trying to be way too hard being meta? Of course, though in a way it works due to who Donald Glover is as a person. And to be 100% with you I can fuck with that on the real.
(Sidenote:) And concerning Nipsey Hussle, I recommend his earlier works such as the Bullets Ain’t Got No Names series of mixtapes and Slauson Boy Vol. 1.