Childish Gambino – “STN MTN” Album Review || The Ether Report

STN MTN is the official Gangsta Grillz mixtape from Childish Gambino. The mixtape plays out like a dream sequence where Childish Gambino runs Atlanta, using nostalgic beat from Atlanta’s past and clever features from the South’s favorites.

About Childish Gambino – is he a Hip Hop novelty or the real deal? He has garnered an impressive cult following due to his undeniable versatility on songs whether it be through rapping, or singing. On STN MTN Childish exercises his wordplay track by track looking to justify the “top 5” claims that he’s been so rampant about.

Off the rip, “Candler Road” is the clear-cut standout on this mixtape. Never have I heard Gambino sound so self-assured on a track. He exercises his right to “talk his shit” on this one as he leads in with his most arrogant flow ever just before the beat switches. But Gambino doesn’t stop there. He really pedals the gas to show us how well he can sing all before he drops a verse even better than the first one.

Silver stones honorin’ the game so clueless
These niggas ain’t us
Hopin’ that I diss you back so I can make you famous
I’m just tired of haters
The AK goin’ off, sound like cicadas
We the clique all day, man I’m so Decatur
Me and Fam backstage, yeah I know you hate us
But you gotta pay us
– Childish Gambino, Candler Road

You have to appreciate this record because this is what Childish Gambino sounds like at his best. Mega-bravado, secure in his swag—he sounds like one of the best artists out on this record.

Another favorite was the social media bait “Fucks Given.” It was one of the four original cuts from STN MTN and the track where Gambino showed us that he had the ability to craft real bangers. It sounds like it’s ready to be performed at festivals and made for Vine videos. I feel like during this record Gambino consciously seeks that response. Its use of the popular phrase can be viewed two ways; you can call it catchy or corny. The feeling behind the record sounds like Gambino was “trying” to make a record that would resonate with the Social Media age, almost throwing different ideas at the wall to see what would stick.

“Fucks Given” was bait for Social Media. He rapped like Pimp C or Too Short on “No Small Talk.” He rhymed on “Southern Hospitality,” “Patna Dem,” and interpolated “U Don’t Have To Call.” He had a Young Scooter feature (no, really we did our research and found out that this was an original record). STN MTN didn’t sound like a game-ready Gambino, but rather him practicing his moves for the world to see. He comes off like a Jack Of All trades. He’s rapping, he’s singing, and he’s even mixed in a little bit of poetry on this one as well. On other projects he’s geared his sound towards his core audience, but on this one it sounds like he’s seeking to reach new ears, perhaps to justify that top 5 talk.

Did this project do it? I can’t say that, but I can say that this was an enjoyable effort. His ear for beats is something else. I can’t remember the last time I heard “Patna Dem” or “Nextel Chirp.” His charisma is sky high on songs like “Candler Road” and “Let Your Hair Blow.” He’s still spitting better than 80% of the artists out today. All in all, it’s going to take just a little bit more for him to turn this dream to a reality.

*Ether Report Card Rating 7.6 (out of 10)