Review: Childish Gambino's "Royalty"

Review: Childish Gambino's "Royalty"

Childish Gambino gives you a lot to take in on his latest mixtape "Royalty," whether it's beats, content or a dope feature.

Childish Gambino has definitely come a long way from his I Am Just A Rapper days. He's found a better voice and sound, that's for sure. His latest realease, Royalty, had drummed up quite a bit of buzz before it dropped, and I was anticipating its release as well.

The project does not disappoint, however, Gambino still has growth to do as a rapper. Most fans are aware that Childish Gambino multi-tasks as an actor and stand-up comedian. So maybe it's hard to put his full attention into being a rapper? He's good, but I just feel like there's something missing. Acting and stand-up comedy aside, Gambino definitely has an ear for a dope beat and a good feature.

That's what Royalty is full of: dope beats (I was surprised to find out the majority of them were produced by Childish Gambino himself) and good features. That's not all though, the lyrics are on point (for the most part-- Gambino is known to drop a corny line every now and then). But the mixtape is pretty eclectic, beat-wise and content-wise, which may be a good thing, but at the same time, it makes the tape less cohesive as a whole.


The tape starts off nicely with the title track “Royalty.” The features start early on, with Nipsey Hussle adding to “Black Faces,” a socially conscious song from Bino. From there we get into the heavy banger "Unnecessary," which features ScHoolboy Q, and sounds complete with the addition of Ab-Soul. The beat changes up for Soulo's verse, and that's one the best parts of the songs. The song is on some balling shit, listing all those “unnecessary” things.

Other songs to take note of would be “American Royalty,” for which Gambino managed to nab a verse from RZA. The beat starts off with a brass orchestra for RZA before breaking down for Bino's verse, and it blends well together. The eccentric beat on “Toxic,” which samples Britnay Spears' hit, is a perfect fit for with Detroit's Danny Brown, and Gambino manages to rep it well also. From there we get into the much more mellow “Silk Pillow,” which features an unexpected artist, Beck. Beck helped produced it, which obviously gave it the more alternative/indie-rock feel. So we go from Britany Spears' to Beck, which is strange.

Out of the eighteen-song tracklist, there is but one I would suggest you avoid and that is the second to last song. “Make It Go Right” features Kilo Kish, and that chick has an annoying voice and her lyrics are equally so. The tape ends on a good note though, with a dark beat on “Real Estate” featuring Alley Boy, Swank, and yes, Tina Fey. Tina Fey is hilarious at the end of the track. “My President is Black, and my Prius is blue mothafucka!”

Royalty provides so much content and variety on the songs it's hard to condense it all into (what should be a short) review, but just know this: a lack of subject-matter is not what you'll find on Royalty, nor a lack of beats. The only fault to the tape is that it doesn't seem very cohesive as a unit, I don't find the songs flow together as well as I'd like them. And you're kind of left wondering who exactly Childish Gambino is...but maybe that's just who he is: He's not a one-trick pony, and his whole 'thing' is going against the typical stereotypes of a Black man, which he definitely does well.

You should give Royalty a listen if you haven't already! Stream and/or download it below.

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