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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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13 Responses to "Childish Gambino – “Royalty” – @@@@ (Review)"
  • Sir Goodwater says:

    How can you rate this joke of an MC higher than Del and Parallel Thought? Don’t get it.

  • Dayz says:

    Agreed with most of all of y’alls statements. How can something like this get 4@s. Looks like we are treading the waters of selling out like the Source and Rolling Stone. To me rating should be much more critical. a 5 has to be perfectly flawless, a 4 better be something I’m still listening to 20 years from now, a 3 better be pretty good with stand out songs that stand the test of time, a 2 is your run of the mill average, nothing special ho-hum LP and a 1 is for a piece of crap. Anyway that is how harshly I judge LPs. 99% of all Hip Hop LPs are a 3 at best but mostly 2s and 1s. Come on y’alls when you rate almost every LP a 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 you basically saying nothing cause you rate them all the same! I love HHS but one way to improve the site would be to slam MCs for coming with weak material and praise the ones truly deserving of it. And to this mixtape, I don’t hate on Childish Gambino but 4@s!?! GTFOH with that this is a 2 or 1 1/2 at best.

  • Dayz says:

    What’s the point of having a scale that goes from 1 to 5 if nothing goes below a 3?

  • DJ Pizzo says:

    I think part of the problem is nobody wants to review the wack records. We send out our review pitches each month, and time and again, tons of releases don’t get picked up. Not saying that this makes Kailyn’s review of Childish Gambino right or wrong – but let’s look at last month – nobody has volunteered to review Prodigy – “HNIC 3″, Kool Keith “Love and Danger”, or Obie Trice “Bottom’s Up”. Now let me clarify – I am not saying any of these releases are wack. But, historically, each of these artists have released sub-par @@@ or below releases in their recent years – so the problem is, the writer’s know it, and only want to review the “good” records – or at least things that we/they “expect” to be good, based on said artist’s current track record. Think about it, would you really want to listen to the new album from MC So-So five times, then spend an hour critiquing it, especially if his last one let you down? I didn’t go see “The Matrix 3″, either.

    So yes, this tips the scale, if all we are reviewing are records by Nas, Alchemist, MF Doom, etc. Naturally we want to rating system to look balanced, and it may not when all we are reviewing are great records. Or records that we think are great ;)

    Not to mention, part of the aim of HipHopSite.Com has always been to make sure that the dope shit is being highlighted, and I think that still stands. So even if we are at fault for “only reviewing good shit”, at least we are filtering out the good shit so you don’t have to. Make sense?

    Believe or not, we’re not afraid to call out a disappointing or wack record. Our scale may look different than Dayz – we reserve the 1 @’s for the Vanilla Ice’s and Benzino’s of the world, but @@’s are fair game for anyone. That being said, I’m not looking forward to reviewing this new album from ******.

  • Sir Goodwater says:

    Okay, so review all the records you think are 3 @@@ and higher and then give them new ratings when compared to each other…like most of us have been saying, this Childish Gambino is not a 4 when compared to Gangrene, Nas, Action Bronson, etc who have been getting 4 1/2. I know album reviews are very subjective depending on the reviewer’s preference, but something just isn’t jiving with your rating system right now. Maybe you should use a point system instead of an @ system. I don’t know, just my opinion.

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