Childish Gambino’s Kauai EP was part of a multi-day release effort that began on October 2, 2014, when he dropped its mixtape predecessor, STN MTN, an homage to the Atlanta rap he grew up loving, which is why he debuted it on a—by that time—outdated music-hosting service. On the other hand, Kauai was a reflection of how that music inspired him. On the EP, Gambino dreams of being an influential figure in Atlanta, awakening from this dream and finding himself on the Hawaiian island of Kauai. Kauai offers up smooth soul and R&B music indebted to the impossibly good vibes of island life. Opener “Sober” glows with keyboard chords, the artist’s stirring falsetto, funk-inspired drums, and naked honesty. The artist croons about the shocking end of a relationship, singing, “And now that it’s over, I’ll never be sober/I couldn't believe, but now I’m so high.” On “Retro (Rough),” Gambino cues up 808 drums and a shuffling groove to give the song its easygoing, laidback feel. With features from Jaden Smith, Christian Rich, and more, Gambino invites a number of collaborators to add to the calming, relaxed style of the record. Even proceeds for the album paid tribute to Kauai, with sales benefiting a nonprofit that helped maintain and preserve the island. Despite the low-key approach, Gambino still brought a number of Easter eggs and surprise nuggets to fans, which they had begun to expect since his studio debut, Camp, a few years prior. Shortly after its release, fans discovered a hidden a cappella verse on one of Glover's websites. It was confirmed by Gambino shortly after—that the verse syncs up with the instrumental portion of “V. 3005 (Beach Picnic Version),” which closes Kauai. Despite serving as the latter half of a two-part project offered as a gift to fans, Gambino couldn’t help but spice it up with a few of his signature gifts.

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