- We Ain't Them
- One Up (ft. Steve G. Lover)
- Black Faces (ft. Nipsey Hussle)
- Unnecessary (ft. Schoolboy Q and Ab-Soul)
- Shoulda Known
- R.I.P. (ft. Bun B)
- American Royalty (ft RZA and Hypnotic Brass Ensemble)
- It May Be Glamour Life (ft. Ghostface Killah)
- Toxic (ft. Danny Brown)
- Silk Pillow (ft. Beck)
- They Don't Like Me (ft. Chance the Rapper)
- Arrangement (ft. Gonage)
- Won't Stop (ft. Danielle Haim of Haim)
- Wonderful (ft. Josh Osho)
- Make It Go Right (ft. Kilo Kish)
- Real Estate (ft. Alley Boy, Swank, and Tina Fey)
It’s almost insane how easy it is for the average hip-hop fan to hate Childish Gambino. Everything about Donald Glover’s rap alter-ego screams “annoying,” from the fact that he’s also an actor on Community to his completely pointless self-consciousness to the insanely stupid amount of skipping he does in the “Freaks and Geeks” music video. While reviewing his debut album Camp, the venerable non-Gambino fans at Pitchfork said, “If you only buy one hip-hop album this year, I’m guessing it’ll be Camp.” That statement is a startlingly accurate one. For whatever reason, Donald Glover seems to exist solely to create hip-hop for non-hip-hop fans. It might be the fact that he comes from a stand-up comedy background that found him writing for 30 Rock and starring on Community, both of which are shows that are funny, but don’t exactly scream “hip-hop.” Additionally, Donald Glover is already a celebrity, and has a built-in audience for his raps. This is fine; lots of people get help in the music industry, whether it’s Justin Bieber tweeting out the video for “Call Me Maybe” or Lana Del Rey’s dad getting rich off of selling domain names and giving her enough money to sustain herself while making an album with the Strokes’ producer that nobody heard. Glover’s leg up just happened to be more overt, and therefore, more annoying—even more annoying than the already-annoying Lana Del Rey.
Still, Royalty is actually pretty good. For one, its guest list is immaculate. Featuring Danny Brown (who recently toured with Glover), Bun B, Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul, Alley Boy, Nipsey Hussle, Beck, and two (TWO!) members of the Wu-Tang Clan, Royalty serves as proof that real, actual members of the hip-hop community, regardless of region, respect Glover (or, at least, the money he may have paid them for guest spots) enough to appear on his tape. People tend to forget—or not know at all—that Glover is from Stone Mountain, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta, and so it's not hard for him to pull-off some earnest trap shit on “Real Estate,” which features Alley Boy, some dude named Swank and fucking goddamn Tina Fey. If you pretend Fey isn’t on the track (because JESUS), it’s actually a pretty good song.
In fact, if you just pretend you know nothing about Donald Glover at all, this tape is actually really enjoyable. His production is full-bodied and diverse, and as a curator of talent, his choices are never uninteresting. He has Bun B rapping over a song from the Drive soundtrack. He convinces Beck to rap again. “American Royalty,” the RZA track, is top-to-bottom amazing. The only vestige of "Donald Glover, comedian" left in Childish Gambino is his unfortunate tendency to make stupid references to hip-ish zeitgeist things. What remains is a dude from Atlanta who's got money and likes to spend it (Duh, why wouldn’t you like to spend lots of your money?), but who’s still got ties to the PJ’s—his cousin died because he was in a gang, and that sucks, and he knows people with AIDS, and that sucks too. Finally, he’s using his platform to do actual rapper stuff instead of complain about his Rich People Problems.
Still, when you remember it’s Donald Fucking Glover rapping over these tracks, you get a creepy sense of “Jesus Christ, this is this kid’s Rap Fantasy Camp.” Indeed, Royalty gives Glover the full treatment as a rapper, from its guests to outside production, which comes from Drake affiliate Boi-1da and Danny Brown’s dude Skywlkr, to what appears to be a Chief Keef drop (Who else would just mutter, “This is Royalty, bang bang!” on “Arrangement?”), to the fact that the tape’s lead single “Unnecessary” was premiered by Hot 97 DJ Funkmaster Flex, who dropped his signature bombs all over Gambino’s shit just like he’s done for real rappers like Jay-Z and DMX and Busta Rhymes and stuff for years. Royalty ultimately represents a crossroads in Glover’s career. Is he going to continue as Donald Glover, rap dilettante, or be Childish Gambino, rap dude who actually takes this shit seriously? Only time will tell.
Ace of Base's Secret Nazi Past
Before he founded Ace of Base, Ulf Ekberg was a member of Commit Suiside, a Nazi punk band.
Parquet Courts - "Light Up Gold Road Trip" (Full Documentary)
In this new documentary, Noisey follows rising indie rockers Parquet Courts from Mexico to Texas and London as they tour to support their debut LP, 'Light Up Gold.'
Yung Lean Doer Is the Weirdest 16-Year-Old White Swedish Rapper You'll Hear This Week
Yung Lean raps over pillow-fluffy beats and raps about glory holes and Arizona Iced Tea. Who the fuck is this kid? And why is he like this?
Adam Ant - The British Masters, Chapter 6
Noisey's John Doran talks with the great post-punk pop star Adam Ant about tribal body mods and layering tape.
Photos: Taking Acid at Coachella
When Paley sent these photos in, she included a nice little caveat over email that we've decided to reprint here in full, not only because it's too good to edit, but because her photographs of her and her weird buddies riding the snake are some of the best
R.I.P. Storm Thorgerson (1944-2013)
On Thursday, the hyper-talented graphic designer, artist, and famed album cover creator Storm Thorgerson passed away after a battle with cancer. He was 69 years old.
The Internet Is Scary
As of six months ago, my Facebook fanpage is like a dojo where hormonal teenagers hone their technique. Here is a heartfelt poem from some kid who wants to rape, kill, and marry me.
I Accidentally Touched Little Richard's Butt One Time
It was in the Detroit airport. After it happened Little Richard said, "He graze my derriere."
Listen to St. Lucia's Remix of The Colourist's "Little Games"
Last month, Cali quartet the Colourist released "Little Games," and St. Lucia just pulled a warm Balearic blanket over the whole thing, sanding away its rough edges with bright synths and lightly gated percussion.
Aaron Montaigne, Godfather of Screamo, is More Interesting Than You Can Ever Hope to Be - Part Two
On surviving combat in Iraq and Afghanistan with the help of magic, 'Bladerunner,' and everything in between.