The Dose: Childish Gambino’s 10 greatest songs

The Dose: Childish Gambino’s 10 greatest songs

The Dose: Childish Gambino’s 10 greatest songs
November 12
20:59 2016

Earlier this year, singer/rapper/comedian Donald Glover debuted new Childish Gambino music at exclusive California shows. He also released his acclaimed series, “Atlanta,” which was recently renewed for a second season. Now, he will be officially selling his new music in the form of “Awaken My Love!” for a Dec. 2 release.

To celebrate, I compiled a list of my favorite Childish Gambino songs. If you’ve never listened to him before, this is a quick resource guide into an impressive discography.

1. “Telegraph Ave.” featuring Lloyd

One of the biggest Grammy snubs in recent memory was Gambino’s “Because the Internet” losing Best Rap Album to “The Marshall Mathers LP 2.” None of those weak Eminem songs outdid this, which remains the single greatest example of Gambino’s songwriting. He opens this narrative by using Lloyd’s voice as a diegetic radio jingle within the composition, segueing perfectly into Gambino’s vocals as Lloyd’s crooning matches the protagonist’s romantic situation. Brilliant.

2. “Sober”

While “Internet” is Gambino’s most revered work, “Kauai” is a personal favorite. The 28-minute R&B project tells a conceptual story of his beach experiences, introducing it with this fantastic song about dulling the pain of breakups. Heavily influenced by retro soul music, this entire project is the best warm-up for Gambino’s upcoming album.

3. “Freaks and Geeks”

As a rapper, Donald Glover’s comic roots always shine due to his inundation of corny, but witty punchlines. His “Camp” album was the first time many of us had an introduction to his nerdy, rapping persona, and this standout song finds Gambino killing the track with a comfortable flow.

4. “Sweatpants”

Out of any song in Gambino’s oeuvre, this is the most appropriate to play whenever you’re handed the aux, and probably the one that made “Because the Internet” such a commercial success. During my very first listen of the album, I was taken aback by its experimental aesthetic until hearing this song.

5. “Bonfire”

This is Gambino at his most aggressive. From the start, he tells us how his “homegirl [drops] it like the NASDAQ” and brags about how he “made the beat, then murdered it, Casey Anthony.” If you don’t love this song already, he encourages listeners to “kiss [his] a–, human centipede.”

6. “Yaphet Kotto”

A rap standard is creating a song for the sole purpose of showing off one’s skills on the mic — devoid of any chorus or bridge to hinder raw talent. In this song, Gambino’s lyrical dexterity is immaculate for three minutes straight, saying clever lines like “Khalifa’s first name, now there’s urine on him.”

7. “The Worst Guys” featuring Chance the Rapper

The fifth track on “Because the Internet” finds Gambino rapping two verses, the first bragging about his escapades with women and the other exposing the embarrassment amid those experiences. The inclusion of Chance the Rapper makes for a catchy hook, and Ludwig Göransson’s guitar solo ends the song on a high note.

8. “Put It In My Video”

In case you’re searching for more Glover goodness, his “Culdesac” mixtape is tons of fun. Easily its funniest entry is “Put It In My Video,” where he gloats about premarital adventures through confidence and hilarity. The beat, as a nod to his R&B influences, samples the ‘70s classic “You Are Everything.”

9. “Unnecessary” featuring ScHoolboy Q and Ab-Soul

Everything great about “Culdesac” is absent in “Royalty,” which replaced Gambino’s trademark geekness for a generic hip-hop sound. To its credit, it has a few solid songs and this was where he went toe-to-toe with two outstanding West Coast rappers — both known for being affiliated with Kendrick Lamar.

10. “Zealots of Stockholm”

Quite possibly Glover’s most complex song in terms of construction and metaphor, it ranks low on this list only because the previous 9 are more digestible “songs.” At the same time, it still deserves recognition for its unconventional beat changes and examinations of technology, life and death.

Featured Illustration: Samuel Wiggins

About Author

Preston Mitchell

Preston Mitchell

Preston served as the Opinion Editor of the North Texas Daily from July 2016 to July 2017, and is a UNT graduate of integrative studies.

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1 Comment

  1. Jerran
    Jerran November 28, 17:28

    Great article!

    Reply to this comment

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