Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Reveling in Royalty.

If you’ve been busy living under a rock or so absorbed by all things punk that you’ve forgotten that other genres existed, this is that once in a blue moon break from the norm.

Childish Gambino, better known as “actor, writer, rapper” Donald Glover (or “Troy” from Community) has released some killer tracks in the past, most notably “Do Ya Like” for which he sampled Adele’s “Melt My Heart To Stone” to create a moody, sexy hip-hop track, “Bonfire” and “Heartbeat” (for which he has been nominated for his first VMA Award). 

After signing to Glassnote and releasing his label debut, CAMP (which is his 3rd full-length album, if you don’t count all the mixtapes and EPs prior to its release), Gambino had some downtime between writing for various TV programs, touring all through last spring and summer and production and studio engineering engagements he’s involved in.

To say he’s busy is an understatement but not nearly as much as doubting his ability to serve up a dope album, which is actually what I did in my review of CAMP last fall.

(Please note: I have since learned from my mistake.)

After hearing “Unnecessary” (featuring ScHoolboy Q and Ab-Soul), for the first time late in spring, I wasn’t completely sold on the idea of Gambino dropping another mixtape on July 4th. It’s so far away from the nerdy hipster rapper we grew accustomed to through Poindexter, Culdesac and EP.

But once I got ROYALTY in my possession, I didn’t listen to anything else.

CG manages to create a seamless record filled with all the characteristics we praise him for: no auto-tune, conscious lyrics, excellent song features from music industry veterans (Beck, Bun-B, Ghostface Killah, RZA) and rookies alike (Chance the Rapper, Danny Brown, ScHoolboy Q, Ab-Soul).
CG’s flow is harder and less prone to awkward structures.

But don’t fret: the metaphors are still as obscure, culturally relevant and introspective as his previous works.

The samples and instrumentals transcend everything else the industry is producing these days, easily solidifying Glover as one of the best producers of his generation.

Even fellow awkward comedian Tina Fey’s guest spot on album closer, “Real Estate” isn’t out of place (or anything less than hilarious).

Basically, with songs ranging from mellow (“Make It Go Right”, “Silk Pillow”) to introspective (“We Ain’t Them”, “Black Faces”) to summer car ride anthems (“One Up”, “Toxic”) will pacify any music listener.

Now Playing: Royalty | Childish Gambino

Recommendations: "Make It Go Right" feat. Kilo Kush | "Silk Pillow" feat. Beck | "Shoulda Known" 

For more on Glover’s music, go to Childish Gambino Lyrics where you can find download links for nearly all his albums, follow Donald on Twitter, or keep an eye on his personal website/blog.


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