Top of the Pops: Because the Internet

2

January 16, 2014 by NowhereButPop

by Khalid Bennett

Hello, my name is Arrogant Menace. Okay, that’s not my name. So how did I get that name? I typed my name in a Wu-Tang name generator. No, I’m not kidding. That’s how Childish Gambino was born.

 If you don’t know by now, Childish Gambino is better known as Donald Glover. He is a actor and writer but raps under the name Childish Gambino.

This is my third time writing an album review about Childish Gambino. He’s become one of my favorite artists to listen to and I think he’s very underrated as a hip-hop artist. It’s probably because his style is so different. The music, his lyrics, how he delivers, I could listen to his albums and mixtapes all day. Since his debut album Camp in late 2011, he’s gotten a little more recognition. He even was a little mainstream, playing on radio stations. He’s still considered underground and his music is considered alternative hip-hop and not the crap that continuously plays. He had been a little quiet since he released Royalty in Summer 2012.

The announcement of a new album was in due time. It was time to hear some of that Childish Gambino fire that has faded and had not been heard in 2013. Because The Internet would be the name of the album and was released 12/10/2013. Because The Internet consists of 19 songs, with only three featured artists.

When I heard the album, I told my friend what I thought about it and he told me to listen to it again. I tried to and I just couldn’t.

I was pretty disappointed with Because The Internet. It didn’t have that Childish Gambino flair that was in Camp, Royalty, and his other mixtapes. It was different but way too different. It was almost like I didn’t recognize Childish Gambino. When I reviewed Royalty, I mentioned his progression as a rapper. It was obvious that he wasn’t the same rapper when he first started and I liked that about him. Listening to Because The Internet, there was no progression at all. I can honestly say that he got worse. I didn’t recognize him at all. It didn’t sound like him at all. I wasn’t expecting the whole album to be just average. Actually, I didnt’ know what to expect when it came to the album because he had been idle for a little bit with his music.

The first half of the album was the bigger disappointment. As I listened to it, I was not impressed with any song at all. The production was a little different. Yes, Childish Gambino and Ludwig Goransson mainly produced all the songs and I also commended them for rhythm and alternative hip-hop style they use. Because The Internet doesn’t really have that. It sounds too much like today’s hip-hop especially with “The Crawl” and “Worldstar”. It changes a little differently listening to “The Worst Guys” but I still wasn’t impressed with what I heard. By the middle of the album, he does go back to what I like about Childish Gambino and he goes back to him singing on the chorus. When I got to “Flight Of The Navigator”, that was the first song I actually enjoyed listening to and that’s the 14th track. The last few tracks are the best songs on the album. It reminded me of the Camp album because it had a lot of the same elements what made me listen to Childish Gambino a whole lot more. The second half of the album is all over the place. It’s a pretty good mix of the alternative hip-hop Childish Gambino is known for. But it’s mixed with a little R&B and a little dubstep. There aren’t that many songs that jump out when it comes to just the beat. I feel that the album is too much out of order and doesn’t flow from beginning to end. I would be skipping a lot of tracks and there are only a couple of songs that I would repeat.

As for the lyrical content and flow, it’s hit and miss. It’s a hit because Childish Gambino has progressed again. I believe that he’s done with the “black nerd” phase. There’s not one song where he mentions how he’s discriminated as a black nerd and how he’s treated as one. There are some songs where he talks about loving a girl, which is expected from him. There are two “misses” that are very evident. I feel that he copied a few styles in the album. There are some songs where it’s a little too Kendrick Lamar. There are some parts of the album where he sound like Kanye West. I don’t mean old Kanye West; I mean “Yeezus” Kanye West. That might be a bold statement but I never liked Yeezus at all. Also, I don’t think there’s enough lyrics. There’s no balance between Childish Gambino rapping and the music being played. A lot of the songs don’t have that Childish Gambino flow that mixes well with the beat. It’s one of the reasons why I would skip a lot of songs.

The album only has three featured artists and they don’t make it better. The funny thing is that the collaborations I expected with Chance The Rapper and Jhene Aiko. But even they don’t spice up the tracks they are on.

Here is the tracklist.

1. The Library (Intro)- It’s only a four second intro

2. Crawl- Sounds a little bit of dubstep and today’s hip-hop…his flow is really good here but the song is okay to listen to

3. Worldstar- Starts out similar to like any hip-hop song but changes by added a saxohpone instrument in the middle

4. Dial Up- A small intro into “The Worst Guys”

5. The Worst Guys* (feat. Chance The Rapper)- I kind of like the collaboration between Childish Gambino and Chance The Rapper…pretty mellow beat…it’s listenable

6. Shadows- Another song that switches the beat in the end…I’d skip it

7. Telegraph Ave (“Oakland” By Lloyd)*- I assume that Childish Gambino used the song “Oakland” by Lloyd and but his own twist to it…I actually don’t mind the beat because it’s that southern R&B flow…it’s listenable

8. Sweatpants- The whole song isn’t bad and he goes fast with the flow but I’d skip it

9. 3005- This is his first single off the album…he basically talks about always being with his love for a long time…it’s listenable

10. Playing Around Before The Party Starts- It’s just someone playing the piano with an audience behind it like there’s a party going on

11. The Party- Really weird song…I’d skip it

12. No Exit- it’s listenable but I’d skip it as well

13. Death By Numbers- just a small interlude

14. Flight Of The Navigator*- This is where the album get a little better, in my opinion. The beginning reminds me a little bit of Kendrick Lamar because of the lyrics. Not much lyrics by Childish Gambino but I commend the singing and crazy beat used

15. Zealots Of Stockholm (Free Information)- I like the beat the first minute and a half but then switches up very dramatically. Then it goes back to how it sounded in the beginning. The whole track is hit or miss.

16. Urn*- Very mellow beat with Childish Gambino singing…very old school R&B like…it’s listenable

17. Pink Toes* (feat. Jhene Aiko)- The collaboration between Childish Gambino and Jhene Aiko is perfect here…this is classic Childish Gambino

18. Earth: The Oldest Computer (The Last Night) (feat. Azealia Banks)- The song is very “outer spacey” like with a fast trance beat…it’s listenable

19. Life: The Biggest Troll (Andrew Auernheimer)*- This is definitely his best song and my favorite song on the album. This is also classic Childish Gambino

Rating:

7.4/10 (Listenable/Average)

Overall, Because The Internet is just okay. It’s not a bad album overall but I’d rather listen to Camp, Royalty, and all of Childish Gambino’s old songs before this one. It didn’t impress me as I thought it would. I believe that the first half of the album isn’t good at all but it progresses and gets better during the second half. I commend Childish Gambino for reaching out and going the distance and progressing as a hip-hop artist. I just feel that he could’ve done better. If you are a fan of Childish Gambino and alternative hip-hop in general, the album is definitely worth listening to. To me, it’s not his best stuff. It’s great to have him back though. Let’s see how long with this album be relevant in the hip-hop community before it either dies out or people will be asking for the old Childish Gambino.

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2 thoughts on “Top of the Pops: Because the Internet

  1. this album was album of year for 2013 for me, I don’t understand how you didn’t like this album.

    • jmoneyboi91 says:

      This was all based on my first reaction. I did listen to it again and I do like it a little better. Personally I don’t think it’s his best material and it just sounded different to me. I would still listen to Camp and Royalty over Because The Internet.

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