Thursday, July 5, 2012

Review: "Royalty" by Childish Gambino

If you were with us on Independence Day, you know our update said there would be no more updates this week.  Well, we lied.  Sorry.  To win your forgiveness, our update is about the new Childish Gambino mixtape, Royalty.  Hope that eases the pain of betrayal.

Gambino, aka Donald Glover, aka Troy from NBC's Community, has certainly made a name for himself over the past few years.  After a series of EPs, mixtapes, and independent albums, he had a "proper" release with last year's Camp, welcomed with mixed-but-positive reviews.  Now Gambino is following that up with another free mixtape, Royalty.  He's teased with a few individual tracks over the past few months, and Royalty certainly delivers on what it promises, even if it isn't particularly groundbreaking.

The released tracks had plenty of featured artists providing assistance, and the rest of Royalty continues that trend.  Some make sense (Schoolboy Q, Ludwig Goransson, Ghostface Killah), some are surprising (Beck), and some are just completely unexpected (Blake Griffin's intro, and an amazing Tina Fey verse on the closing track).  I do miss some of Gambino's older work that was a little more original and unique - remember when he'd rap over Grizzly Bear? - but his newer output certainly doesn't disappoint.  You still get witty, quick lines over great musical arrangements, and it's still enough to make it stand out.

Basically, if you liked Camp, you'll like Royalty.  You'll get a nice variety of tracks, some great guest spots, and the work of an artist who is getting more comfortable with every release.  If you're on the fence, it's free, so download it and add Royalty to your summer playlist.  You won't regret it.

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