Opinion: New Childish Gambino mix tape reaffirms rap talent

Actor, comedian and rapper Donald Glover A.K.A. Childish Gambino released a mixtape last week entitled “STN MTN / Kauai.” The follow-up to his wildly successful first full-length album “Because The Internet”, this project cements Glover’s relevancy as a talented upcoming artist in today’s hip hop world.

Childish Gambino performs set at Firefly Festival 2014.  Drew Lafasto/ TNJN
Childish Gambino performs set at Firefly Festival 2014.
Drew Lafasto/ TNJN

Actor, comedian and rapper Donald Glover A.K.A. Childish Gambino released a mixtape last week entitled “STN MTN / Kauai.” The follow-up to his wildly successful first full-length album “Because The Internet”, this project cements Glover’s relevancy as a talented upcoming artist in today’s hip hop world.

While most mixtapes are conglomerations of songs thoughtlessly thrown together in order to be released, “STN MTN / Kauai” exhibits more foresight. As the name might suggest, the mixtape is split up into two sides: STN MTN, named after Glover’s hometown of Stone Mountain, Ga. and Kauai, named after the oldest Hawaiian island. Glover juxtaposes the two places in the kinds of music he chooses to portray them.

STN MTN contains eleven tracks and finds Glover spitting verses over hard-hitting trap beats with 808 basses and tinny synthesizers, complete with DJ Drama shouting at random intervals throughout for extra hype. The lyrics are about what you would expect from rap songs made to be played at parties and clubs, including subjects such as success, fame, money, women and drugs. STN MTN features remixes to Lil Wayne’s “Go DJ”, Ludacris’ “Southern Hospitality” and Timbaland & Magoo’s “All Y’all.”

Kauai stands in stark contrast with STN MTN. Glover waxes poetic as he sings sweetly and rhymes effortlessly over lush pads and smooth electric pianos. Will Smith’s son, Jaden Smith, is featured on two tracks, where he portrays the character of “The Boy” through spoken word interludes. The instrumentals on Kauai are much more detailed than the ones on STN MTN: the sounds are layered well and the songs have transitions and build-ups and bridges as opposed to STN MTN’s mostly unchanging loops. The verses are clever, the hooks are catchy and the overall aesthetic is that of a beautiful Hawaiian beach at night. Kauai comes to an end with a remix of 3005 — a popular song from “Because The Internet.”

Regardless of what you prefer, STN MTN / Kauai has something for everybody. STN MTN is available for free download online and Kauai can be streamed on Spotify or purchased on iTunes.

Travis Dorman is a journalism and electronic media major and a music enthusiast.
Edited by Jessica Carr