Childish Gambino – Royalty
With the media buzzing over Frank Ocean recently, it’s easy to dismiss some of the other artists proving themselves within the musical blizzard. Donald Glover AKA 28-year old American producer and rapper Childish Gambino failed to impress everyone with his previous album Camp after the huge anticipation and praise after the release of his single ‘Bonfire’ back in 2011. It was disappointing when it turned out that the single ‘Bonfire’ was the only exciting thing about Camp. However, Childish Gambino has definitely stepped his game up to a whole new level since then, with new, and very impressive mixtape Royalty.
Royalty delivers everything that Camp lacks in; heavier rooted hip-hop beats, deeper, hard hitting lyrical contexts and on top of that, Royalty features some of the biggest names in hip hop today. Joining Gambino on the mixtape we have the likes of: Danny Brown, Beck, Ghostface Killah, Bun B, Schoolboy Q and even Tina Fey (we’ll address that in a second). Glover is dismissing the slight indie vibe we heard in Camp and hitting the nail that is hip-hop, pretty perfectly, on the head with this mixtape. We see a new, edgier musical side to Gambino, and we like it.
Childish Gambino has well and truly re-entered the rap game, and with Tina Fey rapping, “We in this thang, Gambinos forever!” in last track ‘Real Estate’, we see Gambino’s comedic style slipping through the hard-edged beats to reassure us that nothing here is being taken too seriously. Beck and Gambino’s collaboration on ‘Silk Pillow’ delivers a slower piano-based beat with frank yet emotion-filled lyrics over the top.
The dynamics of this album are constantly switching allowing the listener to go through a journey with the artists. Skywklr has even managed to take Britney Spears’s ‘Toxic’ and make it into an even catchier chorus in the sample for the track named ‘Toxic’ on Royalty. The track also features the lovable Danny Brown. Conversely, on the track ‘Toxic’ it’s fair to say Gambino’s rapping stability and consistency is definitely showed up a fair amount by Danny Brown’s unreal hip hops skills.
‘Unnecessary’, featuring Schoolboy Q and Ab-Soul is an incredible combination of rappers on this track. Obscure lyrics over a shadowy beat with these three taking a verse at a time works absolutely perfectly and is one of the many highlights on Royalty. Gambino has recently released ‘Body’ featuring Prodigy which didn’t quite squeeze its way onto the mixtape, but it just shows Gambino delivering further when we thought there was nothing left to give.
There’s a lot going on in this mixtape, and it’s definitely one to check out, although if you enjoyed Gambino’s previous album then this mixtape may take a bit of persuading. Things have definitely changed since Camp. Fresher beats and new rhymes is what gambino is presenting to us here, and it’s done in a tasteful way. With features here on nearly every track there’s enough to get any hip hop listener excited.
Grab the mixtape for free at DatPiff.