The actor turned rapper route is not an unfamiliar territory for rising star Donald Glover. The stand-up comedian dropped an intro into the inner workings of his creative mind and skills on the mic with the moderately successful 2011 Camp. Mixing the sounds of dubstep, dance, electronica, and pop, fans got another side of the rising star under the alias of Childish Gambino. Although not album of the year, the first effort from Gambino was filled with plenty of new sounds and autobiographical tracks that painted a good story of what makes Glover the artist he is. With his sophomore release Because the internet, Gambino continues his story of introspection and fears of solitude over colorful production with some comedic delivery.
After the lackluster drop of the ROYALTY tape, Gambino parted ways from the hit NBC show Community and focused on the sophomore release. The release of his short film and screenplay only further gave fans a look into the developing theme while building the anticipation to hear more. The end result became a conjunct LP seperated into five different musical suites (recognized by the different roman numerals between the interludes) that reflect the multiple moods and, ironically, the multiple career changes of the artist.
The first half of the album finds Gambino at his most consistent as a rapper. Not just featuring the addictive previously leaked singles, “WORLDSTAR”, “Telegraph Ave”, “3005”, and ‘Sweatpants’, the Thunder Cats produced “Shadows” and chill “The Worst Guys” ft Chance the Rapper reflect the growing lyrical skill of the emcee while sustaining the recurring theme of fear of solitude.
Following the aggressive start to the project, the album slowly progresses into a darker more melancholic tone as more R&B, jazz, and rock sounds are introduced. Thanks to the open air, Weeknd-esque production of Ludwig Goransson the contrasting tracks “Party” and “No Exit” make an attempt to reflect the dark and light elements of Gambino’s character. The bass heavy rhythms of “Party” show him more of the drug-induced party host/starter that cares less about the random people invading his place, until the end of the track. The later “No Exit” is the more inner-monologue or the “day after” period with Gambino still battling feelings of loneliness. The winning moments of these two tracks are the production that segways smoothly into the last suite of the album.
Slowing down the listen and the momentum, the closing portion of Because of the internet are the most personal and melancholic. This act is probably the most experimental with different genres of R&B, jazz, and synth beats flooding your ears. The looping guitar beat and airy melody of ‘Flight of the Navigator” fit perfectly with the poetic words of losing a loved ones. “Zealots of Stockholm (Free Information)” and “Urn”, continues the moody, dark rhythms but slowly transitions into a Gambino the vocalists than Gambino the fast-spitting rapper we were introduced to.
The closing tracks lighten the mood and finish the LP on a more positive note. Stopping you from completely ODing on musical depression, the Azealia Banks-assisted “Earth: The Oldest Computer (The Last Night)” is one for the dance floors and the latter “Life: The Biggest Troll (Andrew Auernheimer)” is a classic hip-hop track that ends in an unexpected way.
Because the internet is completely conceptual in its mechanism of experimental sounds and lyrics. From pure hip-hop to R&B, rock, and electronica, this album ironically depicts the jumping of careers for Donald Glover. Opening with the line “Who Am I?” could not have been more appropriate for the a metaphorical work on finding oneself. Is he a party starter? lover? or just plain camp rapper with a fear of solitude? Although not without its flaws in lyricism and progression of sound, I am still curious to hear more from the young rapper. This LP is his best work to date.
Because the internet is available on iTunes.
Final Verdict: Good