Childish Gambino has always been a forward thinking artist, hopping between different styles and genres seemingly effortlessly. His latest project is a combined release, consisting of a mixtape entitled 'STN MTN' and this EP, entitled 'Kauai'. The EP leans stylistically towards the more Drake-esque side of Gambino's sound, and the chilled out vibe works well throughout. It's an undeniably cool outing from the 31-year-old artist.
The EP starts off with 'Sober', and as soon as the silky keys and tight drums combine with the various synth lines, the direction of the 'Kauai' EP becomes clear. Childish Gambino's vocals are smooth, reminding me of Frank Ocean, and they sit on the groovy instrumental with ease. At nearly three minutes into the track, it switches up into a hard-hitting, far harsher electronic section, as is somewhat common in Gambino's music, and it's definitely a solid opener. 'Retro' is one of the stand-outs on the EP for me, and the hypnotic instrumental backs his tight flow and convincing delivery. The track is well produced, with an interesting mix of synthesizers, and it definitely works with both Gambino's exquisite crooning and precise spitting.
'Poke' is another great track, with a dense and dreamy start, before groovy drums back Gambino as he shows his impressive range. He is joined here by his brother Steve G. Lover, who delivers a tight and relevant verse, making for a cohesive listen. The EP closes with '3005 (Beach Picnic Version)', and it's an alternative version of the track from his 2013 album, 'Because The Internet'. This rework takes us into some really exciting chillwave soundscapes, and the pitched up voice is a really effective addition, and adds to the mood and feel in a big way.
The 'Kauai' EP is an enjoyable listen, and it won me over despite being a fan of the more rap orientated Childish Gambino music. It's definitely made an impression though, and really shows the scope and range of his talents. There is a continuous theme of the very in-fashion brand of R&B throughout the 7 tracks, but there are also hints of Gambino's more 'out there' electronic influences, as well as there being a pretty chilled out vibe as well. This is certainly worth a spin.
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