How did you spend your Independence Day? Community star Donald Glover performed in London (TURNCOAT!) to celebrate the release of his brand new, absolutely free mixtape Royalty. Go ahead and download it here.
Royalty follows up Gambino’s 2011 label debut Camp, an incredibly accomplished compilation that ranked as one of the best releases of last year. Save for a few moments, the only voice heard on Camp was Gambino’s, but Royalty flips the script by inviting along seemingly everybody the rapper/comedian has ever met. The guest list includes Wu-Tang Clan icons RZA and Ghostface Killah (appropriate considering Gambino got his nom-de-hip-hop from the Wu-Tang Name Generator), a handful of fellow underground sensations (Danny Brown, Schoolboy Q, Ab-Soul), and even Beck, who raps as though he never stopped.
The re-emergence of Beck on the mixtape (he also produces two tracks) would be a pretty big headline were it not for the debut of a woman new to the rap game: 30 Rock creator and former Glover employer Tina Fey, who drops in on the album-closing track “Real Estate” and is in fact the last voice heard on Royalty. Give it a spin below (and skip forward to the 4:50 mark if you want to get right to Fey’s contribution).
Let’s face it: As a rapper, Fey is an excellent executive producer of a television show. Still, that line about dropping racks at Nordstrom is pretty funny, and her bit about being a little uncomfortable (while still maintaing proper rap album volume) could only be delivered by Liz Lemon.
There’s 58 other minutes of music before Fey steals the show, as Royalty is a huge step forward from Camp. The production on that album, handled entirely by Gambino himself, sometimes felt a little hemmed in, but the beats on Royalty get to breathe a lot more and travel to far more interesting sonic places. Plus, because it’s a free mixtape, he can get away with letting Danny Brown spit game over a blipped-out version of Britney Spears’ “Toxic” and not have to worry about Brit-Brit looking for a check.
What do you think of Fey’s contribution to the new Childish Gambino mixtape? And what do you think of Glover as a rapper? Get uncomfortable in the comments below.