Rap’s current state of affairs is puzzling, to say the least. Juggernauts like Drake, A$AP Rocky and J. Cole have put out some of the most stagnant music of their careers and have plateaued artistically. Pusha T appears to be the last of rap’s old guard who can drop a quality album. Female rappers like Cardi B and CupcakKe are blazing a much-needed trail critically and commercially.
The Internet is the hardest band to be a fan of for one simple reason. Not because their music is problematic, not because they make questionable career choices, but because of two simple words: their name. What’s in a name? A lot of social faux pas apparently. On more than one occasion I have mindlessly asked a friend “Have you ever heard of The Internet?” to recieve the blankest of stares.
I would like to preface this review by stating I am the person at Daily Arts least expected to write it. I am by no means a Panic! fan; it wasn’t until recently that I finally put together that the “closing the goddamn door” song was their “I Write Sins Not Tragedies.” For the longest while, the band was nothing more than word association for me: If someone said “Panic! At The Disco,” I thought “Brendon Urie.” Besides his name and his Broadway stint performing in “Kinky Boots,” I knew nothing about the man.
Ever since “‘03 Bonnie & Clyde,” Jay-Z and Beyoncé have wanted you to know two things about their relationship: they’re in love and they’re rich. For years that’s the most they’ve cared to divulge. They kept their 2008 wedding as hush-hush as possible and would almost never be caught publicly without sunglasses — Jay often opted to cover his eyes while they sat courtside at indoor NBA games. They popped up here and there as if to bless us with their public presence, but that exterior appearance was all us normal people got to witness.
For a title as open-ended as “This is America,” one would assume Childish Gambino’s latest single would poignantly capture the racial tensions of the nation, using the Black experience as a vessel for artistic expression. For a listener completely unaware of the clandestinely corny wunderkind that is Donald Glover, they would perceive him to be a yet another (admittedly more melodic) tough-guy rapper singing self praises while lyrically waving the barrel of an AK in their faces.