Even Childish Gambino fans know that Childish Gambino is weird as hell, so it's no surprise that the second segment of his new double release, STN MTN / Kauai, is full of unexpected oddities.
Kauai, the companion EP to the mixtape STN MTN, is primarily chilled-out, alternative R&B. The Hawaiian atmosphere is ever-present as Donald Glover croons his way through part 2 of the concept album, although he doesn't lay out a cohesive and literal story. Bino offers a sampling of styles and influences throughout, but generally, the songs don't all seem unified at first listen.
The exceptions are "Pop Thieves (Make It Feel Good)" and "Late Night In Kauai," the two songs featuring human random word generator Jaden Smith. Smith's arbitrary spoken word segments join the two songs over reversed hand drums and basslines. Jaden tells disjointed stories of nights on the beach on either sides of the songs, and a voiceover on "Late Night In Kauai" gets meta, saying, "My nigga Jaden Smith dropping jewels and niggas don't even believe him because he's Jaden Smith." Perhaps having Jaden star as "The Boy" this time is Donald Glover's way of saying that people didn't take him seriously just because of who he was.
As for the other tunes, "Retro" is one of the scant tastes of Bino's hip hop flavor on the record, "Palisades" is a sultry, Prince-style jam, and "Poke" features the staccato flow of his brother, Steve G. Lover III. The true standout on this record, though, wasn't even on the record at all.
"V. 30005 (Beach Picnic Version)" appears as an instrumental remix of Because The Internet's "3005," but Gambino hid an a cappella vocal track on his website. An enterprising Reddit user found it, Glover confirmed it via Twitter, and you can listen to the two songs pasted together below. The end result is the strongest work on Kauai, an odd culmination of the album considering that it's an internet Easter egg.
Bino's R&B stylings don't hold up completely to the wit and wordplay of his hip hop tracks, but for fans of Donald Glover's weird, alternative, concept-laden world, Kauai is a worthwhile endeavor.
To purchase Kauai, you can download via Amazon. Stream and download STN MTN right here at Zumic. The proceeds from sales of Kauai are actually going to benefit Hawaii, with Glover telling Complex the money would go to "keeping Kauai clean, and also helps with getting audio and visual devices for cops policy."
For more music, videos, news, and tour dates, check out Childish Gambino's Zumic artist page.