Review by Bedstuy Betty
Donald Glover has released a new mixtape simply titled EP. Five tracks filled not only with superior lyrics, but also diverse production as well as something even more intangible, desire. Thus far, Mr. Glover has been somewhat of a golden boy with notable successes in both acting and writing; however it appears that this year will definitely be his to shine musically. Where his prior efforts left the aftertaste of this pursuit being merely a pastime, EP leaves all doubts cleared by this point.
Beginning with the track “Be Alone”, Glover croons in his sweet falsetto over indie rock tones, violins, and soft drum kicks. Though fairly somber and low-key, the lyrics shine through and give the fans a personal look at the effects of Glover’s growing fame while still maintaining a level of accessibility. “Be Alone” is truly candid and can leave the listener a bit raw but still hopeful that Glover won’t find himself alone forever.
Like a burst of sunshine, the next song “Freaks and Geeks” is a definite nod to Kanye production-wise. Complete with witty, personal rhymes including an E.E. Cummings reference, Glover’s speaking on a subject he knows fluently: girls. In a style reminiscent to Lil’ Wayne or Drake, he voraciously goes in on this with an abandon that is neither exasperatingly imitated nor overdone. “My Shine” the following track, starts off with a bit of a reggae intro feel before jumping into a measured flow where Glover reiterates his passion behind the music. I will say I’m a bit confused by his insistence that folks still aren’t feeling him due to the fact that he’s been generating a positive buzz for the longest while but, maybe like most artists he’s impatient.
The next song is without a doubt, my all time favorite. Not only does “Lights Turned On” kick off dramatically, but the production hits hard with a bit of a frenetic, jungle air. A song created for the club, Glover rhymes about women and sex with the flair of a master all the while making references to The Social Network, Pokemon, and even his own GAP ads. Of course, the track isn’t entirely baseless but it borders on ignorance in the best way possible.
The final track “Not Going Back” is a return to that honest lyricism not unlike looking in the mirror the next morning where Glover once again exhibits both his confidence as well as his insecurities. Accompanied by the angelic guest vocals of Beldina Malaika, “Not Going Back” provides the perfect closing to an already stellar compilation.
At this point, Donald Glover’s making it apparent that he needs to heard and we should all take heed. Not only has he put in the time and effort but he’s actually creating something that most of hip hop barely taps into. A sincerity that surpasses the swagger and the arrogant behavior and leaves you wanting to hear more. Glover’s breaking boundaries in a big way and I for one, am anxious to see what other musical masterpieces he’s about to break out.