If Childish Gambino seeks notoriety his most recent, 18-track mixtape titled Royalty will garner wanted attention.
Childish Gambino’s relentless delivery has greatly improved from his style on Camp, his first independent studio albumreleased in November of 2011. Childish Gambino has slightly changed his style to incorporate more commercial hooks, but it’s for the better.
His song “Unnecessary” provides one of the best examples. Although its commercial and he uses money to express how he has acquired many things in life that are unnecessary, he has learned how to use rap’s most commercial facets to enhance his message instead of producing overall commercial tracks.
It doesn’t seem like Childish Gambino can be contained. Regardless of the topic, whether it’s life, money, women or success he possesses the intelligence and wordplay to make his lyrics resonate. Every song on the mixtape has thorough, well written bars.
Additionally his concepts force a little thought before the moment of realization descends, as is the case on the song “One Up.” He talks about how many things he has in life are extra and compares it to gaining an extra life in a video game.
“We party until the sun up, you aint likin’ what we doin’… shut up, you aint likin’ what we doin’… shut up, we got that extra life n***a one up.”
“Real Estate” applies a similar concept as Childish Gambino applies a pun to the words real estate. Not only is it a reference to money he’s placed in the housing market, but it’s also a braggadocio statement that promotes Georgia as the realest state, and features Georgia native Alley Boy.
Childish Gambino also dabbles with a few samples on the tape. His song “Toxic,” produced Skywlkr, uses Brittney Spears song as the basis of a bass booming track where he displays a dangerously toxic flow. “Make it Go Right” also samples LL Cool J’s flow from “I Need Love” as Childish Gambino uses the first two bars as a platform to sage way through the rest of the song.
Ironically enough, Childish Gambino showed signs of separating from his Drake-like approach to music as an entertainer who sings and raps. The only song where Childish Gambino sings is “Shoulda Known.” It’s not exactly clear whether he is singing or softly reciting the hook.
The mixtape also offers a barrage of features. Some notables are Schoolboy Q, Nipsey Hussle and Ghostface Killah. Childish Gambino outshines all his features except rap veteran Bun-B on the song “R.I.P,” which experiments with studio effects that make the music sound like its shorting out. Almost every track on Royalty contained a feature. Childish Gambino may need to consider less features on the next time around because a few of them were weak.
Royalty ranks as one of the most complete mixtapes in 2012. Childish Gambino caters his flow to match each beat and proceeds to deliver surgically precise bars that are unmistakably clever and clear.