Freddie Gibbs – “$oul $old $eparately” review

This is the 4th full-length album from Indiana emcee Freddie Gibbs. Coming up in 2004 with his debut mixtape Full Metal Jackit, he would then sign to Interscope Records for a brief period of time until he left without dropping an album with them. This was made up for with the mixtapes The Miseducation of Freddie Gibbs & Str8 Killa No Filla, which would catch the attention of Jeezy & land Freddie a contract with CTE World in 2011. However, Gibbs eventually left CTE the following year after releasing the tapes Cold Day in Hell & B.F.K. (BabyFace Killa). In 2013, he decided to form his own label E$GN Records & finally dropped the full-length album E.$.G.N. (Evil $eeds Grow Naturally). He & iconic Oxnard producer Madlib would drop their MadGibbs debut Piñata the year after that, which is EASILY one of the greatest hip hop albums of the previous decade. Gibbs continued to grow his profile after that with Shadow of a Doubt, You Only Live 2wice, Freddie & the Curren$y collab EP Fetti & who can forget MadGibbs’ sophomore effort Bandana or even Freddie’s last effort Alfredo produced by The Alchemist? But after much anticipation, Gibbs is dropping $oul $old $eparately in light of E$GN’s new distribution deal with Warner Records.

“Can’t Be Done” is a soulful trap opener with Gibbs talking about doing the impossible whereas “Blackest in the Room” takes a jazzier route thanks to Uncle Al comparing himself to Sam Cooke. Offset tags along for the decent trap banger “Pain & Strife” talking about making that bread just before “Zipper Bagz” works in some hi-hats & a chilling vocal sample provided by KAYTRANADA admitting all he knows is that & yayo.

Meanwhile on “Too Much”, we have Moneybagg Yo coming into the picture to assist Gibbs for a boring trap cut that aged like milk since dropping as a single last month with all respect to everyone involved prior to Rick Ross & Jake One helping him make it up in the form of “Lobster Omelette” spitting lavish bars on top of a sample-based beat. “Space Rabbit” is a synth/boom bap hybrid produced by Boi-1da & Rogét Chahayed detailing Cocaine City, but then “Feel No Pain” with Anderson .Paak & Raekwon somberly prays that they good forever.

“Rabbit Vision” calls out someone who went against a family oath over some smooth J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League production also admitting he still has love for Jeezy also while the DJ Paul-assisted “PYS” comes through with a jazzy trap banger talking about being pimps. “Dark Hearted” finds James Blake sonically fusing pop rap & hip hop soul admitting that he still has mob ties even though he’s rich now while “Gold Rings” with Pusha T of course spits that hustler shit over a nocturnal instrumental. The song “Grandma’s Stove” somberly opens up about depression while the penultimate track “CIA” by MadGibbs returns to jazzier turf making it clear that he needs the check & the bar mentioning him getting continuously banned from Instagram is priceless. “Decoded” however brings in one of Gibbs’ idols Scarface for a bluesy closer to the album hooked up by DJ Dahi talking about knowing that this rap shit was in their veins.

I’d still say The Elephant Man’s Bones is my Album of the Year, but this dude been talking about $.$.$. for nearly 3 years now & the final product is one of his best solo efforts to date in my opinion. A couple lackluster cuts here & there, but Gangsta Gibbs locks in with his niche on here by exposing his style to a wider audience without it being too excessive like a lot of other major label debuts can normally be.

Score: 4/5

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