Childish Gambino – Because The Internet

written by: December 9, 2013
Album-art-for-Because-the-Internet-by-Childish-Gambino Release Date: December 10, 2013


Because The Internet, the second studio release from comedian-turned-rapper Childish Gambino (aka Donald Glover), is an extension of his best moments as a musician.

He is funny yet critical, experimental with new sounds and barplay. He spits lyrics full of self-reflection and honesty, and the flow of the album itself is atypical, which is characteristic of ‘Bino.

His most recent projects, the debut album Camp and mixtape ROYALTY, both have a faint presence on Because The Internet, yet are distinct Gambino projects of their own accord.

The album is lengthy at 19 tracks, four of which are instrumental interludes that connect suites within the album. While the album is broken up into five sections, it flows as one cohesive, sometimes ephemeral project that is united by the artist’s impressive musicality.

As always, Gambino is full of humor, snark, and biting commentary.

“IV. Sweatpants” highlights his beautifully crafted lyricism; it’s a strong, yet hilarious critique of white wealth. Gambino raps, “Got a glass house in the Palisades, that a-k-a/White hood, white hood, (okay-kay-kay),” referencing Socrates, with a pause to recognize his own Fiskar (the expensive brand of electric car, not the scissors) mid-reference, making the track particularly spectacular.

It’s not just the lyrics that make the music; “IV. Sweatpants” has a beat that bumps. The first few tracks of Because The Internet have a Top 40 throb to them, particularly “II. worldstar,” which is most reminiscent of ROYALTY.

However, the moods on the album vary suite-to-suite. The adorable “Pink Toes” features Jhene Aiko and captures an odd romance between a drug dealer and his girlfriend, who’s riding along. “Flight of the Navigator” is Frank Ocean-like as Gambino sings solemnly, “Who would have thought this/We almost lost it/When you lie inside darkness it’s hard to see/And we sleep in tradition/Keep them off in the distance/To tell you that I haven’t been.” Near the end of the album, the tracks pick up; “Earth: The World’s Oldest Computer” has a house feel to it.

Because the Internet’s technological theme is complete with lyrics about Twitter followers, #gpoy (gratuitous photo of yourself), and lines such as, “And I’m out of this world like Tang, nigga/That’s a space bar, man, I hate y’all,” among numerous others. The internet theme is most evident, but there is a deeper meaning to the album.  

There is an emptiness and loneliness to each track. Gambino’s debut album Camp addresses similar insecurities lyrically, but Because The Internet is lonely sonically, as well. It feels somewhat hollow, especially on the interlude “Playing Around Before the Party Starts” and the tracks “I. The Party” and “II. no exit.”

While the album feels cohesive, it seems like the pieces are somewhat disconnected. They fit together, but not in a way that makes sense initially. That’s what the screenplay is for.

On Dec. 6, Childish Gambino released the screenplay for Because The Internet on It is lengthy with embedded visuals that tell the story of the album, and there are written commands to play certain tracks at a particular point in the script.

Given the context of the script, the tracks become mind blowing. Each track can stand on its own, but they make more sense as they play into the story of Because The Internet. Earlier this summer, Gambino also released the short film Clapping for the Wrong Reasons, which he said may or may not give more context to Because The Internet.

This album is strong alone, but the supplementary screenplay enhances the listening experience. The album is successful with and without the extra context.

Because The Internet is complex, reimagining what is typically thought of hip hop. Gambino produced a work that was crafted beyond expectation while retaining the quirks that make him stand out as a rapper. In short, he made a masterpiece.

Childish Gambino – Because The Internet tracklist:

  1.  “The Library (Intro)”
  2. “I. Crawl”
  3. “II. worldstar”
  4. “Dial Up”
  5. “I. The worst guys (feat. Chance the Rapper)”
  6. “II. shadows”
  7. “III. telegraph” (“Oakland” by Lloyd)
  8. “IV. sweatpants”
  9. “V. 3005”
  10. “Playing Around Before the Party Starts”
  11. “I. The Party”
  12. “II. no exit”
  13. “Death By Numbers”
  14. “I. Flight of the Navigator”
  15. “II. zealots of stockholm (free information)”
  16. “III. umm”
  17. “I. pink toes (feat. Jhene Aiko)”
  18. “II. earth: The oldest computer (The last night) (feat. Azealia Banks)”
  19. “life: The biggest troll (andrew auernheimer)’