Few artists within the hip-hop community would even attempt to produce an album accompanied by a mammoth 72-page narrative screenplay, but then again few artists boast a resume for the creative arts quite as impressive as actor/writer/rapper Donald Glover, a.k.a. Childish Gambino. With the immense ambition behind his second album ‘Because The Internet’, there’s also immense viability for it to plunder in a mangled conglomerate of half-baked ideas, but here Gambino presents a rare instance in which the actual realisation of a product outweighing the quality of its initial imagination.
Amidst the course of the nineteen tracks that construct Because The Internet’s narrative arc, Gambino successfully injects all of the defining traits that make him such a unique character. The hook-heavy synth stab of ‘3005’ demonstrates his penchant for melody and melodrama, whilst the percussion driven, gung-ho absurdity of ‘Sweatpants’ taps in to his sharp comedic wit, with playful jibes at his own wealthiness and nonsensical Fisker imitations. The overwhelming sense of insecurity that swamped his previous effort ‘Camp’ is still duly present, but this time it’s mirrored by the album’s experimental musical backbone, with the likes of ‘Zealots of Stockholm’ melding warm, bluesy piano chords with jarring bursts of ‘Yeezus’-like distortion that rattle to-and-fro with a gratifying sense of bipolarity.
Gambino might continue to consider himself the perpetual outcast of his own race and his genre, but with ‘Because The Internet’, a swirling opus of helter-skelter production and lyrical ingenuity, his days as the awkward Urkel of the rap game are undoubtedly soon to be forgotten inklings of the past.
Words by Joshua Pauley