Childish Gambi”no”

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Matthew Belinson, Reporter

     On December 2, rap artist Childish Gambino released his fourth studio album called Awaken My Love! Gambino’s real name is actor and comedian Donald Glover, who has appeared in movies and television for many years. His rap persona, Gambino, has gained popularity from his popular album from his 2013 album, Because of the Internet, and has been hyped up for his lyrical genius and production of each song. Fans and critics alike awaited the arrival of his fourth album, and as a fan of his since 2013, he has disappointed.

     His album, Awaken My Love has eight tracks on the album and none of the songs are anything new. Gambino’s biggest issue in this album is the lack of originality he offers. Gambino caught popularity with rapping and his creative lyrics or messages. I am not one that will criticize this album for the lack or complete absence of rap. While it is disappointing, rap is a necessity for an album to be great even if the artist raps consistently.

     Gambino’s tracks are copies of Prince or Michael Jackson. He tries so hard to get his voice high enough or distort it strangely behind odd beats. Gambino is nothing like those two artists on this album. Those two singers used their powerful voices to carry albums and songs. Gambino constantly uses autotune to cover is good voice. The only song on the entire album that allows him to sing is the track, “Stand Tall”

     Another issue I have with this album is the repetition of odd tracks. The album literally has six tracks that are just six minutes of randomly interchanged instrumentals. Songs like “California” or “Zombies” speak for themself. Gambino is a talented artist. He disappointed me because he didn’t try and do anything new, besides making six minute beat changes and high pitched autotune tracks. I am always upset when someone with talent does not expand on what was successful for them. Rap would have been a great addition to his successful 2013 album, but an eight track album with singing or a mix of both would have sufficed. He tries nothing new and offers odd tracks. The songs are so forgettable. There is nothing to remember in over half the songs. He barely speaks in this album. Artists should always try other ideas, but to forget a huge part of what makes you popular should be seen as a mistake.

     The final review of the album comes from the artist himself. Childish Gambino no longer cares about keeping his fans happy. Gambino thinks anything he puts out will be called brilliant or creative. Fans of music are smarter than that. Gambino himself threatened to quit rap altogether in 2015. Donald Glover, Gambino’s true identity, was on the Today Show in 2015 promoting the movie he was co-starring in. Towards the end of this interview, Glover was asked about his rap fame and his Grammy nomination.

     “I feel like Childish Gambino is a period that should come to a close, I like endings,” said Glover.

     Glover made it clear he would not quit making music. He repeated to Matt Lauer that he enjoyed  making creative styles for people to follow. Glover’s idea that he can just abandon the following he gained through his rap skills is insulting. I believe he made this album to those who expected one thing from him. Again, this is not me. I am upset that this album has barely any singing. Glover says he can just forget Gambino and move on to producing and making music. I find this arrogant and rude. I am not saying he cannot make his own choices for his career, but to abandon the skill that earned you a Grammy nomination and millions of sales of albums sounds like a bad idea.

     Gambino gives an album that has nice beat changes and sounds here and there. The album offers nothing to remember because he rarely sings or speaks. When he does speak, it is mostly in a high or contorted form of a voice. Awaken My Love!  is an acquired taste, and I am not in that category. Gambino has talent and should focus on expanding what made him famous.