You Don’t Like Childish Gambino’s ‘Because the Internet’ Because of the Internet
When the leak of Childish Gambino’s sophomore record Because the Internet arrived in my inbox last week, I was a little hesitant to open it. Not because I thought I had a porn virus or the Syrian Electronic Army was attacking me, but because I’d followed Glover’s zig-zagging narrative closely over the past six months. First, he announced that he’d be cutting down his time in Community. Then he went pretty quiet on social media, despite dropping his first track in sometime, “Centipede.” Then he released Clapping for the Wrong Reasons, that strangely bizarre 30-minute experimental silent film completely different from any of the silly comedy he was known for (“Troy and Abed in the morning,” anyone?) Then that whole “Instagram photo” thinghappened, in which he posted a bunch of handwritten letters in the Renaissance Hotel explaining his own frustrations with media and the internet. Then he dropped some more new music—music that made the few people on the rap internet who actually listened to it say, oh, wow, this is pretty good—and announcedBecause the Internet’s release, which is today. Then he spoke to Noisey about attempting suicide and taking more drugs in order to be a better rapper. And now, anytime he’s in public, he looks stoned out of his mind, a bit like he’s floating, uncertain of his next move but still carrying a bit of innate, Hollywood-charm. As a critic and a rap fan, it was fascinating to watch his development as an artist. And so when the record did indeed arrive, I was wary of listening because, holy shit, what if I actually like this Childish Gambino record?
The fact that I had this internal discussion—whether or not it was okay for me to like this music—is inherently funny, but what’s more is that it’s indicative of exactly what the Because the Internet is about, how self-aware Glover is, what he is trying to accomplish with Gambino, and what the culture thinks of him.
Oh, and it’s also important to consider that this is a record made by Childish Gambino, who is arguably one of the most automatically hated rappers currently in the game.