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Childish Gambino delivers again with new album new album

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Album: STN MTN

Artist: Childish Gambino

Label: Sony Glassnote

Release Date: Oct. 2

Grade: A-

After the recent success of his sophomore album, Because the Internet, Childish Gambino, the writer turned actor turned rapper shows off his versatility with slick wordplay and awesome flow. But his dirty south rap style may alienate some of his listeners.

If you were hoping STN MTN to have a “campy” vibe with bright sounds and melodies like in his debut album Camp, or to have a more experimental style with computerized sounds like in Because the Internet, then consider yourself out of luck. STN MTN is a mixtape with hot beats and straight bars; you won’t hear Gambino sing that much this time around, but it’s for a good reason.

STN MTN has a narrative, like most of Gambino’s projects. Gambino is reflecting on a dream he had in which he “ran” Atlanta. He was all over the radio as Atlanta’s star rapper. In addition to selling out the Georgia Dome three nights in a row, he, like most famous Atlanta MC’s back in the late ’00s, released a DJ Drama’s Gangsta Grillz styled mixtape.

Atlanta is a major theme of the tape. The name, STN MTN, is an abbreviation for his hometown, Stone Mountain, which is a Georgia suburb.

The tape includes samples of Atlanta (ATL) classics such as Ludacris’ “Southern Hospitality” and Rich Kid’s “Partna Dem,” to newer hits like Camp’s “Money Baby” and Future’s “Move That Dope.” ‘Bino uses his signature wordplay riddled with slick punch lines to add his own spin to these ATL anthems that will likely have listeners dancing the Bankhead Bounce and the Nae Nae.

The intro track sets up the atmosphere of the mixtape. The song begins with a monologue from Gambino, but then it divides into three parts. The second part of the song opens with a running aggressive monologue from DJ Drama and leads into Gambino spitting fire over Ludacris’ “Southern Hospitality.”

A lone gunshot acts as the transition to the third part of the song. It samples Rich Kid’s “My Partna Dem” – a running high-paced beat that’s stereotypically “Atlanta” in all the right ways.

Gambino throws in a few beats to rap over as well, like the second song on the tape produced by Nick Banga, “F**ks Given.” The creeping flow of the song is complemented by the melody sung by Gambino – one of the few instances of him singing on the tape. This song is sure to have listeners bobbing their head from side to side as they hear Gambino drift through the song almost effortlessly.

Halfway through the mixtape, listeners are greeted with a radio advertisement for an upcoming show Gambino is having. Even though he isn’t rapping, it’s definitely a highlight of the mixtape because of its hilarity.

The interlude transitions smoothly into Gambino’s A Cappella rendition of Usher’s classic hit song, “U Don’t Have to Call.” The song then transitions once more to a monologue from Gambino, which sounds similar to a track from from Because the Internet. It wouldn’t come as much of a surprise to fans if this song was originally part of that project, but didn’t make the final cut.

This track definitely stands out. It has some of the more powerful words and the stereotypical “Gambino” sound: smooth harmonies and upbeat, running rhythms.

The next song on the mixtape, “Chandler Road,” is probably the best song on the project.

If someone wants to get a feel for Childish Gambino’s music in one song, then “Chandler Road” would be the perfect response. With an even blend of smooth rap flow, hard-hitting punch lines and catchy hooks and melodies, “Chandler Road” is a three-minute personification of this rapper’s individualistic style. Gambino fans are bound to love every second of it.

The rapper spared no expense in putting on a show for the listeners. Production credits go to Big Soj, Black Party, Keri Faux, Zeytoven, Tim Suby, his long-time producer Ludwig and of course Childish Gambino himself.

While this mixtape may sound good, there are definitely a few criticisms to be made for STN MTN. First, some of the raps get a bit repetitive, as some verses have an uninspired mix of stealing a “hater’s girl,” driving a nice car or showing up at an exclusive venue.

It can be argued this was all part of the “typical Atlanta rap artist” vibe Gambino was going for, but to make that claim may be a bit of a stretch. This whole vibe may also alienate a few of his core fans, as it sounds nothing like some of his earlier projects that had his fans fall in love with him.

email: arts@ubspectrum.com


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