Some album titles convey strong messages and use creative wordplay to show their hard work, pride, confidence, and of course, all of the marvelous benefits that go along with success. However, not many artists are capable of holding up those cocky record titles.
Nevertheless, Childish Gambino has proved his kingship with his latest mixtape, Royalty, which released on Independence Day. The NBC comedian, exhibits his newfound confidence and skill over eighteen tracks that demonstrates versatility, a solid balance between his insane flow, comedic style, metaphoric lyrics and sarcastic wordplay.
Royalty is the answer to what we all hoped for after Gambino’s pop cultured breakout EP Camp (2011), as critics questioned whether he’d be able to diversify his subject matters and attract a broader audience. Camp painted a vivid picture of Gambino’s personal struggles about not fitting in and was different because of his unconventional approach.
A track that is a reminder of Gambino’s familiar style is “Bronchitis,” where Gambino sincerely draws a connection between his past comedic endeavors and current music journey as he says, “Speak the truth and everybody going to hate you/Unless it’s funny, that’s how I used to make money.”
Royalty is exactly what you would expect from a hip hop mixtape, and the progression and growth from the EP is not to be ignored.
As he says in his hour-long stand-up comedy appearance titled “Weirdo,” “I like weird stuff, I like weird, crazy music… and we really don’t have that anymore.” Gambino has found an outlet where he can be himself and listeners can just accept that because that’s just him.
Gambino is not trying to sound tongue in cheek when he inserts sarcasm and street swagger into his delivery, he’s just being himself.
Gambino demonstrates his healthy ego by teaming up with other MCs for a friendly competition of skills (for the most part, they weigh each other out), as “Royalty” features notable artists, such as Wu-Tang legend, RZA and Ghostface Killah. Other features include Bun-B, TDE’s Schoolboy Q and Ab-Soul, Nipsey Hussle, Danny Brown, and Tina Fey? Yes, Gambino’s previous boss makes her rap debut on the mixtape (“Real Estate”). Now, that’s pure comedy.
Another track that stands out is the Wu legend’s and the Hypnotic Brass Orchestra’s appearance on “American Royalty,” which doesn’t include any wild punch lines but seems to have an effortless flow. Other songs to check out is “Black Faces,” “Wonderful,” “It May be Glamour Life,” “One Up,” “We Ain’t Them,” and “Unnecessary.”
In his song “Shoulda Known,” Gambino says, “We got the shows, we got the paper, but I want respect. So tell them haters, we ain’t quitting yet.”
Royalty represents the 27-year old’s self-made transformation into a respected hip hop artist. So whether you’re a hard -core hip hop head or a hipster junkie, Gambino creates the perfect balance to satisfy any listener and make new fans. Now the least you can do is give it a listen.
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