In the interest of full disclosure: I am a big fan of Childish Gambino. I’m aware of the fairly substantial percentage of hip-hop fans who can’t stand him, and I understand their arguments, Gambino himself certainly talks enough about how much people dislike him, and the extremely damning Pitchfork review of his studio album Camp summarises the important points), and even agree with some of them. I have my own issues with some of his stuff, but purely in terms of musical taste, for the most part I think he’s doing something pretty interesting, and the last two releases (the aforementioned Camp and the earlier mixtape Cul de Sac) were definite improvements on what had come before. I was pretty saddened to hear he’d cancelled his Dublin date in August.
His latest mixtape, ROYALTY, was released for download on his personal website a few weeks ago. It marks a substantial change in his style, in a number of ways, and mostly for the worse. Continue reading