Childish Gambino vs. Vic Mensa: Who Owns the Internet?

Categories: DC9 at Night

Courtesy of Glassnote Records
Childish Gambino surveys the Internet.

Dallas is in for a techie treat with upcoming concerts by two of hip-hop's most promising internet by-products: Childish Gambino (March 7 at South Side Ballroom) and Vic Mensa (February 1 at House of Blues). With Gambino's release of Because the Internet and Mensa's full-length solo debut, Innanetape, 2013 introduced the hip-hop world to a pair of new age MCs who were unapologetically influenced by the World Wide Web.

Both artists are genre-benders. They rap, sing, and tell multidimensional stories that shy away from your typical hip-hop narratives. But considering the Internet is a primary device of emphasis in their musical efforts, one question emerges: Who owns the internet?

That's right, you just stepped into a round for round flame war for hip-hop's digital crown. Let's log-in ringside.

Round 1. Best Album Title, a.k.a. Domain Name

When it came down to giving projects an ID, both rappers relied on a simple computer-generated response.

Gambino: In a TIME interview, Gambino pinpoints his album's title to a studio conversation with fellow musician, Beck. In realizing that, because of the internet, our triumphs and mistakes are timelessly accessible, he found an explanation to every one of life's digitized queries, because the internet.

Mensa: In an MTV News interview, Mensa credits the naming of his release to a night of music, tweaking, and needing a friend's wi-fi password, resulting in him jokingly declaring, "I'm the Internet." The musical domain name he finalized on is a stylized mix of the words internet and mixtape, Innanetape.

Winner: Chilidish Gambino. While Mensa's Innanetape title cleanly symbolizes the internet's key influence on how music roams freely on today's computerized backdrop, Gambino's pensively justifies his album's inspiration, substance, and society's future, all in a three word explanation.

Round 2. Vocal Range a.k.a. Flow Bandwidth

Gambino: Because the Internet showcases Gambino's ability to flow atop of electro-distorted and ambient samples with a gradually fast-paced trap flow (Migos bite), in addition to his more familiar monotone conversational deliveries to accommodate fragmented monologues.

Mensa: Vic's flow has a mean mega-bite throughout Innanetape because it impulsively switches back and forth from an assembly of deliveries that delve into binary spoken word, rhythmically offbeat Eminem-esque ferocity, and a melodic R&B/ cyberpunk hybrid.

Winner: Mensa. With a beat manipulating flow that transforms itself multiple times throughout the course of a single verse, let alone a track, Vic's dissimilar deliveries maintain an uninhibited amount of bandwidth.

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