Childish Gambino may have made his name as a writer on 30 Rock and as childlike former high school football star Troy Barnes in Community, but as indicated by his recent departure on the latter and now his paranoia-fuelled second studio album, Because The Internet, he currently isn’t in the mood to joke. Despite its title and various references to trolling, exploitative viral video sites and popular memes, the multi-chaptered follow-up to 2011’s Camp appears more concerned with expanding on the issues hinted in his recent series of troubling Instagram posts than providing any kind of discourse on the digital age. Here’s a look at five of its most anxiety-ridden moments.
The first of several tracks which suggest Gambino needs to be more selective when it comes to his posse, this trippy psychedelic-tinged collab with a non-rapping Chance The Rapper shows that he’s painfully aware that his ‘friends’ are all about the benjamins. While a refreshingly truthful explanation for a disastrous threesome – a far cry from the usual macho bravado displayed by his peers – also confirms that the party lifestyle isn’t doing him any favors:
Perhaps fuelled by the number of recreational drugs he’s consumed at the hipster festival, a typically on-edge Gambino becomes so overwhelmed with fear that he convinces himself that even just the merest sign of devotion will have a lethal effect on the Beyonce to his Jay-Z. In the end, his hesitancy to express himself on this funky Thundercat production costs him any chance of forming a new power couple to rival the Carters and he’s forced to watch her ‘hang low’ with another homie: [LISTEN]
Turning Eminem’s ‘I used to give a fuck, now I give a fuck less’ statement of apathy on its head, Gambino admits that he still constantly worries about being judged before delivering one of the album’s most fatalistic rhymes over a Drake-esque blend of futuristic synths and sparse funk beats. However, a desperate plea to one of the less materialistic people in his life to hold his hand until the next millennium suggests he has no such qualms about appearing needy. [LISTEN]
Gambino initially appears to be in high spirits on this twitchy slice of industrial hip-hop as he boasts about the infinity pool, free bar and copious amounts of blue dream, not to mention the Mila Kunis lookalike that will be on his arm, that await his guests. But his attempt to present himself as the life and soul of the party doesn’t last long and pretty soon, those who have taken advantage of his generosity are forced to contend with his own unique impression of The Hulk:
Once again addressing his obsessive fear of loneliness, Gambino confesses to his friendship-murdering tendencies while under the influence on an abrasive mix of doom-laden drones and falsetto-led R&B which recalls one of this year’s most challenging LPs, Yeezus. Unfortunately his method of recovering from this particularly paranoid trip – a mixture of McDonalds and cartoons – doesn’t appear to do the trick and “II. No Exit” ends with him rocking to and fro while comparing himself to the brown recluse spider: