I love my hip-hop controversial. No, not Eminem “White America” controversial, more so “Take Care” controversial. The albums and artists I’d like to call “base-breakers”. These are artists who’s body of work tends to polarize their audiences, and the hip-hop scene as a whole. With that being said, I’d like to talk about one of my favorite albums to date. Childish Gambino’s latest effort “Because The Internet“.
First off, fans of Camp (Gambino’s first LP) will be pleasantly surprised that this is a way more mapped out album. This is a body of work, for better or worse. This work expands on the themes of the first. Love, loss of love, fear of death, apathy, depression, confusion, the gamut of emotions many older and “gangsta” rap fans dismiss as bubblegum pop abound here. When you get down to true substance and creativity though, those who dismiss Donald Glover will be sorely discredited. As a matter of fact, The last track of Camp introduces the character The Boy, the main character of Because The Internet.
Let’s briefly discuss the fact that this album revolves around an event just as polarizing as the artist himself. The Internet is the millennial generations’ Studio 54, Limelight, Paradise Garage. You need not leave Duluth to become an overnight success, or a nationwide cautionary tale. This has widespread effects felt the world over. Mistakes are forever, and the sky is no longer the limit for humanity. Keep that in mind as you go past the 5-second intro “The Library”.
That’s all I’m going to say about the songs, being that they loosely follow a screenplay, written by Donald Glover himself. The story is about a character called The Boy, and a handful if adventures with his friends. The Boy is, for lack of a better word, a troll. His dayjob is to troll politicians and celebrities on Twitter, and post videos to Worldstar Hip-Hop. He has horrible social skills, and seems apathetic about most things that go on around him. These themes are explored in the context of the album (“Worldstar“, “The Worst Guys“, “Telegraph Ave.“), but are embellished on further in the context of the screenplay (comes with the album, or can be found at www.becausetheinter.net ).
If clicking links isn’t your thing, here’s a short form of the screenplay brought to life “Clapping For The Wrong Reasons“, starring a cast of characters that ranges from Danielle Fishel to Abella Anderson (don’t act like you don’t know).
I could go on forever about the connections and the ability to relate to the message. I won’t spoil it though, because I really believe this is a must hear album, and a must read screenplay. You wouldn’t be wasting a cent of what you spend on this record. Gambino fans will get the “different song” they seek (Life: The Biggest Troll (Andrew Aurenheimer)), and new listeners will be immersed in a cinematic world, for better or worse. This album has gotten mixed reviews, and nothing substitutes for your own take, so I encourage anyone who wants a little cinema to go with their hip-hop concept albums to have fun with this one.
Here’s the lead single from the LP, “3005“.