I have been a fan of Childish Gambino for a while now. I would say I started listening to him in 2012, about a year after his debut studio album Camp was released. I really enjoyed his introspective material as well as his interest to make hip hop into something that it never was or something that other hip hop artists were too afraid to do. I eventually listened to his previous release Culdesac a little bit later and instantly fell in love with it. It seemed as though, to me, Gambino could do no wrong.
That was when I started to listen to his next release, Royalty. For some reason, when I first listened to this project, I did not like it. Like, at all. There was something about it that did not click with me the first time, and even the second time, that I listened to it. It seemed to me as though Childish was a completely different artist at this point. It’s not as though I do not encourage musical evolution amongst my favorite artists, it’s just that this release was not for me the first few times around.
Despite this, I was hyped for his second studio album Because the Internet and I was patiently waiting for it. I had even enjoyed the first single off of it: “3005.” I also heard “Crawl” before it was officially released, and I really enjoyed it too. I had high expectations for this album. These expectations were not met the first time around. Like Royalty, the contents of this project seemed like an entirely new Childish Gambino to me, and while that is not an entirely bad thing, I was certainly disillusioned because I was not enjoying the newest releases from one of my favorite artists.
So, fast-forward three years later to December 2, 2016, the release of Childish Gambino’s third studio album “Awaken, My Love!” After listening to this, I found myself really enjoying the new sounds that Gambino incorporated into this new album, ranging from soul, funk, R&B, and an overall psychedelic sound throughout. This prompted me to go back and re-listen to both Royalty and Because the Internet and see how my opinions of them changed over the course of three to four years.
Upon listening to Royalty again, I found myself nodding my head to every single track. I ended up enjoying every song from this project. I even began wondering to myself why I didn’t like this album when it first came out. So, I listened to Because the Internet again. The exact same phenomenon happened to me again. Every single song on this album was great. I felt that they were very well-written and professionally and expertly produced. Both of these projects have aged very well in the very short time that they have been released, especially Because the Internet. It is now one of my favorite albums of all time, and I would even go so far as to say that it is a modern classic.
So, the point of this blog post is to put across this overall message: if you don’t like an album when it’s first released, or it does not click with you at all, at least give it another shot later on down the road. You might not be ready for it, or there might be something about it that you do not understand. But, at least give it another shot.
And as for Childish Gambino’s 2014 release STN MTN / Kauai, I have not listened to it all the way through yet, but I have enjoyed what I have listened to so far and do hope to finish it sometime in the near future. But, as for the other projects I have mentioned in this blog post, I certainly do recommend giving them a listen. I will provide links for everything at the end of this post.
Albums and mixtapes
- Culdesac (2010): Childish Gambino Culdesac mixtape download
- Camp (2011): Childish Gambino Camp YouTube playlist
- Royalty (2012): Childish Gambino Royalty mixtape download
- Because the Internet (2013): Childish Gambino Because the Internet YouTube playlist
- “Awaken, My Love!” (2016): Childish Gambino “Awaken, My Love!” YouTube playlist