Friday, July 13, 2012

Childish Gambino – Royalty Mixtape (2012) – Review

Review: Following up Childish Gambino’s first commercial LP Camp (which is fantastic), Royalty seems to signify a change in style for Gambino. It sounds much more like a typical hip hop release than Camp, his 2011 EP or Culdesac musically and lyrically. Royalty has a ton of features, when past Gambino albums did not, including ScHoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, Bun B, Nipsey Hussle, RZA, Danny Brown, and Ghostface Killah. A more interesting and off-beat feature is Beck, who features and co-produces on Silk Pillow, while producing another track. The production is good with Gambino handling most of it himself (while production partner Ludwig Goransson, who co-produced all of Camp and EP, only co-produces two songs). SKYWLKR and Boi-1da each add two tracks as well. Lyrically, Donald Glover seems more interested in more clichéd hip hop topics like being rich, having money and wealth (which seems to be the main theme on this mixtape) than his usual self-reflexive and witty pop culture infused wordplay. There is still some of that too, but there is certainly a noticeable switch in lyrical focus. This seems to be a more self-assured MC, with the success of Camp, who now feels comfortable boasting not just about his skills on the mic but also about fame, money, girls, cars, cloths, and all the stuff that hip hop is oversaturated with. As with most mixtapes, there are probably six to eight tracks that are forgettable. However, there are eight or so tracks that are fantastic, making this mixtape well worth checking out for fans of Childish Gambino and newcomers alike. 3/5

Essential Tracks:
1)      Unnecessary – Featuring ScHoolboy Q & Ab-Soul, produced by Donald Glover
2)      Shoulda Known – Produced by Donald Glover
3)      We Ain't Them – Produced by Donald Glover & Ludwig Goransson

Available on Digital Download

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