I haven’t had a lot of time to listen to this album because technically it doesn’t come out until this Tuesday, but my gut feeling based on the first few listens is that this is where it belongs on the countdown. Here with his second studio album, this one has even more genre-blending than 2011’s Camp did. Where before he would have his hooks sung, either choir, RnB or pop style, combined with good rap verses occasionally over an electronic beat, here the blending is more chaotic as the beats tend to change up within the same song and the singing is just as frequent as the rapping. Childish Gambino has become a hybrid of many mainstream artists’ styles, as you can hear the influence on this album from Kanye West, Drake, Tyler, The Creator, 2 Chainz, Pharrell, and even some Justin Timberlake. He makes Kanye West songs (circa 2008) with better singing, Drake songs with better rapping, can sing like Pharrell or JT and also has that “swag” factor of 2 Chainz or Tyler.
Given my taste in music, it’s obvious that I’m not vibing well with the songs that are all singing, although Gambino does have a good voice for it so I can see why he’d expand on that. I do like his rapping; his flow, rhymes and wordplay are still as good as they have been on previous projects. I also like the concept behind the album; we get a lot of discussion on this album about how the internet has negatively affected humanity (for example, people are more likely to film bad things happening to other people rather than helping the situation, because they’re more concerned with how many hits they can get on Worldstar or Youtube). I find that Gambino’s lyricism gets outshined by the ever changing melodic production, as the production sounds much larger than any of his previous projects and he’s diving deeper into that pop-rap realm, but on his own terms. Take this review for what it is, I’ve only played the album about three times but it may grow on me as I listen more, and find time to read the script that’s meant to accompany the album.
My Joint (not many good links on Youtube, but this is a good song):
My Grade (based on how well I connected with it, no disrespect if your experience was different): B
Come back to my blog tomorrow to see which album or mixtape came in at #23 on the countdown!