By Paige Carlin
Childish Gambino deserves two thumbs up: one for his latest EP, Kauai, and another for his most recent mixtape STN MTN. Although wildly different, the two hip hop creations reflect Gambino’s ever changing style while actively engaging listeners.
Gambino’s sleek EP, Kauai, released on Oct. 3, leaves listeners wishing it was a full length album. As a whole, Kauai mystifies its listeners with modern pop vibes and catchy lyrics. Although most of Gambino’s past work has been focused on his rapping, Kauai proves that he is also a capable singer as he takes on a Michael Jackson-esque style. However, he still manages to hang on to the rap roots that reappear in STN MTN.
The first song, “Sober,” has a slow and engaging tune that establishes the polished profile of Kauai. The groovy and laid-back flow of the EP comes out in “Pop Thieves (Make It Feel Good),” with recordings of seagulls calling and the sound of the sea.
As a whole, the EP portrays a vacation on a tropical island, presumably Kauai, and a refreshing escape from reality. However, Gambino’s classic rapping and use of bass make a return in “Retro [Rough],” but he keeps his lyrics carefree singing, “It doesn’t really matter / We can get there / We can do it if we try.”
Kauai deserves attention from music enthusiasts everywhere. In addition, the profits that will come from its sales will be dedicated to maintaining and preserving the island of Kauai.
Released in conjunction with with Kauai, Gambino’s STN MTN mixtape leaves listeners in awe with its variety and captivating beats. STN MTN also contrasts Kauai in many ways.
Whereas Kauai is an escape from daily life, STN MTN is a return to Gambino’s roots in more ways than one. STN MTN revolves solely around Gambino’s rapping, the style of music that made him famous while Kauai has much more singing and pop.
In addition, the content of STN MTN discusses a homecoming of sorts, unlike that of the vacation atmosphere of Kauai.
It’s obvious that this mixtape was a fun project for Gambino due to some unrefined transitions and wide variety of content in songs like “Dream Southern/Hospitality/Partna Dem” and “Money Baby.”
Don’t be fooled by the seemingly laid-back mix, as the pulsing music on the tape is enthralling in the way that rap mixtapes are.
Although a little rough around the edges, the mixtape has a powerful rhythm and is definitely worthy of praise. Gambino’s STN MTN can be downloaded for free from datpiff.com.