Childish Gambino Changes Things Up with “Because the Internet”


“Because the Internet” album cover

danny glvoer

Childish Gambino (a.k.a Donald Glover) recently released his newest project Because The Internet. Unlike any regular project, Gambino released his 2nd studio album along side a screenplay that can be accessed through becausetheinter.net. On this website, he creates an interactive reading experience. While reading along, you can watch clips and listen to his new songs that corresponds to the part you’re reading. Everything about this album is internet-esque, or an ode to today’s internet age, referencing to things such as the popular website worldstarhiphop.com, internet slang such as “troll”, mentions, etc. Also the way it was highly promoted through Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, Tumblr, and other internet avenues adds to the feel for this new project.

So let’s start with the album itself. This project really shows his growth from I Am Not a Rapper, to Coldasac, to Camp, and all the way to his recent mixtape Royalty. It’s not the same Gambino from his early projects, which isn’t a bad thing at all. Of course he still has the same elements as before, but this project shows his advancement as a rapper and artist. Some people complained that Royalty was not the same as Camp (which was the case), but that showed more of his rapping and production skill. As to where Camp showed more of his alternate rap style, with this album, you get the best of both, with hard tracks such as “Worldstar” and “Sweatpants”, to the smooth songs such as “Telegraph Avenue” and “Urn”. Personally I like his “singing” tracks from this album more than the ones from Camp. As always, you have the crazy bars and references that might teach you a few things along the way. With the features, don’t expect full-on verses, only expect little guest appearances with some ad-libs and hooks, from artists such as Problem and Chance the Rapper.  This is definitely a concept album, that would be best if listened to in order, but it’s not bad to listen to some songs here and there. If you’re a Childish Gambino fan, it’s definitely enjoyable. For first time listeners, it could be one way or the other, but I’m confident most will like it.

Artwork by “Adventure Time” Artist Pendlton Ward

As for the screenplay online, it’s really interesting. I personally read and listened to it in one sitting, since I wanted to keep going through each page via my iPad. The story seems to pick up straight from the short story as told at the end of Camp in the song “That Power”. It then follows the life of the main character entitled “The Boy”. With tons of money and a disconnected relationship with his father, he grows to be pretty angsty and curious. His job is literally being an internet troll through twitter and another blog that was unspecified. It goes through his life with friends, love, drugs, erectile problems, death, and other things. It is all written by Donald Glover himself. So of course there are going to be comedic elements that make you LOL (actually just smirking or chuckling quietly, but everyone interprets it through LOL in the internet these days). But there are serious parts that do make one question the life in the social internet age itself. I really did enjoy the screenplay with written-in cameos by Rick Ross, Jhene Aiko, and even a surprise one by the “What Does the Fox Say” guy. Overall, it was very enjoyable, but also unsettling. It left me with some unanswered questions, but I guess it’s all up to self interpretation. Questions like, “What the hell is ‘Roscoes Wetsuit’?” come to mind. So be prepared for some symbolism, feels, laughs, and good tunes with this interactive screenplay. I’m not into spoilers, so go read for yourself via becausetheinter.net. Hopefully it’ll turn into an actual short film.

Screenshot from the online screenplay

Overall, Childish Gambino creates a whole new experience when it comes to to a concept album. Everyone should check it out during winter break or something so it doesn’t conflict with your finals.

If you’re not into the whole screenplay thing, you can just listen to it track by track on becausetheinter.net (skip the words), spotify, or by just purchasing his album which just released today.

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