#9 Album Of The Year: Childish Gambino- Because The Internet

Posted: December 29, 2013 by ericbernsen in Album Reviews, Music
Tags: , , , , ,

I can be honest when I say that before this album, I was not the biggest fan of Childish Gambino. Familiarity with his acting work on TV shows like Community did not equate to enjoyment of his debut album Camp, which was released back in 2011. While the project did have some positive moments, it was just flat out not that great of a rap album to me, feeling more like a side project of the creative Donald Golver rather than a hip-hop album by Childish Gambino.

Gambino has not been shy in showing that he constantly feels the pressure to fit in and be accepted as a legitimate rap artist. His public overthinking and worrying about this issue, along with overall self-esteem problems, ended up being successful promo for this album named Because the Internet. As the title suggests, the overarching theme of the project reflects Gambino’s thoughts on our present day digitalized society that is highly dependent on the online world. With the help of producer and composer on Community Ludwig Goransson, Glover is able to create his own flawed utopia that is limitless and void of any bounding restraints.

Similar to Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange album, Childish Gambino is able to weave through rap-focused songs and ambient melodic singing-based tracks with relative ease while never letting the music sound jumbled or inconsistent.  His overall range as an artist is on full display with R&B influenced tracks like “Telgraph Ave” (heavily sampling Lloyd’s ‘Oakland’), and dizzying bar heavy songs such as “Sweatpants” seamlessly flowing back to back without losing a step in quality. While it is clear that Gambino’s rhymes and flows have matured, Gambino is at his best and consistently succeeds when singing on this project. Whether it is his appealing and catchy hook on “3005” or full out crooning falsetto-flexing performance on “Flight of the Navigator”, it becomes apparent that Gambino is much more than a “joke” rapper who relies on sometimes inept punchlines.

The sonic realm of Because The Internet continues to expand as the album closes with tracks such as the experimental “Zealots of Stockholm (Free Information)” and the Azealia Banks featured “Earth: The Oldest Computer”. While some might say Gambino is multitasking too much for his own good, the diversity and lack of predictability behind these records is what gives them their merit and greatest strength.

Even if Gambino is still struggling with acceptance in real life, musically his work is translating into records that seem absolutely carefree and possessing a hybridity that needs no approval. Besides the strong guest appearances from Chance The Rapper and Jhene Aiko, Gambino does not reach out for much help to achieve his vision. The risky ambition put forth by Gambino on the album is admirable and the sometimes spacy, sometimes jarring production follows suit, giving Glover a proper medium to allow his freedom of expression. While the typical definition of rapping may not be Gambino’s forte, Because The Internet is a body of work that uses the platform of hip-hop to create an engaging musical experience for the listener that is the furthest thing from boring.

Listen to Because The Internet below and let us know what you think of the review/ranking!





  1. […] his project Because The Internet. The album was released last December and snuck itself in many Albums Of The Year lists due to its plethora of musical styles and distinct production. In a interview with Complex, […]

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