Cypher Avenue Rating: 3.5 of 5      

Amidst the Frank Ocean media blitz, Donald Glover (AKA Childish Gambino) free mix tape download ROYALTY was almost lost but was only kinda  pushed to the background.  The mix tape has been receiving critical acclaim all across the music blogosphere.
This is Gambino’s latest release since last year’s sleeper hit Summer Camp.  This time around ROYALTY has a little less indie artistic feel but has a little bit more of a standard hip hop album feel (production is still on point) with more hard beats and is heavy on featuring special guests.  All but 2 of the 18 tracks feature another artist.
What is not different however is Gambino’s lyrical flow…Still witty, slick, current and relevant.  ROYALTY still has the typical hip hop masculine bravado; cash, hoes and braggadocious flossing.  What is not typical for most rappers but is for Gambino is the easter eggs of realness like rapping about family history and life’s dilemmas.
For instance on the track We Aint Them Gambino raps

“I got the same speech when I lift 30 Rock. My moms like, why you wanna leave a good job?  My dads like boy do your thing don’t stop.”
“My great grand dad bought his own freedom.  Walked barefoot to Virginia to start his own peanut farm.  So don’t be alarmed.

PictureOne stand out is the brass horn heavy track American Royalty featuring the RZA. On this track, Gambino’s production skills are flawless here.

 Other stand outs are…
It May Be Glamour Life featuring Ghostface Killah. Ghost delivers typical beautiful flows over a beautiful sample.
Silk Pillow featuring Beck.  Beck’s intro takes me back to the days of high school when his break out hit Loser was popular.

PictureGambino’s personal moments are highlighted on Wonderful featuring Josh Osho singing over the track

 “I used to have to sneak just to get my food. Free lunch made it feel like they don’t approve.”
“Like my cousin got the HIV. When she bust her leg open playing jump rope. Should I tell them kids what the fucks up, they gonna judge her and me.  Man fuck them we livin,”

Bun B kills it on R.I.P. again tight production by Gambino and the Britney Spears sample is so smooth on Toxic.

One question that was on every ones mind is how is Tina Fey’s flow on the track Real Estate.  Well the song itself has what seems like more curse words than normal and to answer the question…as usual she is hilarious and gives the song a comedic edge which makes you not take the foul tough talk to serious.
Out of 18 tracks, I could do without maybe 2 or 3 of them.  That being said; ROYALTY is another solid, easy to listen and node your head to mix tape from Childish Gambino.  You will not be disappointed.  


Did I mention it was free? Download it HERE


Just listen to the hotness that is “American Royalty