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 $.$.$. for nearly 3 years now & the final product is one of his best solo efforts to date in my opinion. A couple lackluster cuts here & there, but Gangsta Gibbs locks in with his niche on here by exposing his style to a wider audience without it being too excessive like a lot of other major label debuts can normally be.
Freddie Gibbs is a 37 year old emcee from Gary, Indiana that started out in 2004 with his debut mixtape Full Metal Jackit. Interscope Records would eventually sign him in 2006, but he left shortly after without releasing a full-length debut. This was made up for with the mixtapes The Miseducation of Freddie Gibbs & Str8 Killa No Filla, which would catch the attention of Jeezy & land Freddie a contract with CTE World in 2011. This didn’t last long though, as Gibbs would leave CTE the following year after releasing the tapes Cold Day in Hell & B.F.K. (BabyFace Killa). In 2013, he decided to form his own label E$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 & of course there’s MadGibbs’ sophomore effort Bandana almost a year ago at this point. However, he’s returning out of the blue with his 3rd full-length album & The Alchemist producing it in it’s entirety.
Things kick off with “1985”, where Freddie talks about his flow being God level over a psychedelic guitar instrumental. The next song “God Is Perfect” talks about “Gangland shit” over a dreary instrumental while the track “Scottie Beam” finds Gibbs getting conscious & Rick Ross flexing over a dreamy instrumental. The song “Look At Me” talks about how he ain’t looking back over a soulful instrumental while the track “Frank Lucas” with Benny the Butcher sees the 2 talking that drug dealing over a grim boom bap beat.
The song “Something to Rap About” with Tyler, The Creator sees the 2 discussing rapping about crime & fame respectively over a tropical instrumental while the track “Baby $hit” talks about how soft dudes be nowadays over a more spacious instrumental. The song “Babies & Fools” with Conway the Machine sees the 2 reminiscing on their first & second loves over a gorgeously smooth instrumental while the penultimate track “Skinny Suge” opens up about feeling like someone’s tryin’ to kill him over a meditative beat. The album finishes off with “All Glass”, where Gangsta Gibbs gets on the gangsta tip over a hard hitting instrumental.
For this being the lyrical surprise album everyone was talking about dropping this week, it’s phenomenal. Probably Freddie’s best solo effort yet in my opinion. The production is phenomenal as we’d all expect from Uncle Al at this point & Freddie’s pen-game is just as gruesome as it was on Bandana.
Curren$y & Freddie Gibbs are 2 MCs in their late 30s with similar upbringings in their careers. Spitta was signed to No Limit Records & Young Money Entertainment/Cash Money Records throughout the 2000s while Freddie was signed to Interscope & CTE World/Def Jam in the late 2000s/early 2010s. Neither of them put out a full-length album on any of those labels, as it wouldn’t be until they found their success as independent artists. The 2 have been teasing a collab EP all year & for Halloween, they’ve decided to put it out with the legendary Alchemist producing it in it’s entirety.
The opener “Location Remote” sees the 2 getting boastful over a sinister beat & the next track “The Blow” of course talks about drug dealing over some bass playing, but the hook is pretty awkward. The song “New Thangs” is a return to the boastful bars over some luscious keyboards & even though the track “Saturday Night Special” has spacey instrumental, Spitta & Gangsta Gibbs are talking about 2 separate things. Curren$y is going at the people copying his style while Freddie talking about putting his mob over everything & later a sexual encounter.
The song “Now & Later Gators” is a Freddie solo cut that humorously indulges into old school R&B & the track “No Window Tints” is a Curren$y solo cut vividly going into the mind of a drug dealer over a sinister instrumental. The song “Willie Lloyd” is another Freddie solo cut, this time delivering more serious & gritty street bars over a suiting instrumental while the penultimate track “Tapatio” sees him reuniting with Spitta to talk about warrants being put out on them over a relaxing & almost tropical instrumental. The EP then finishes with “Bundy & Sincere”, where the 2 make a heartfelt tribute to Mac Miller over a smooth instrumental.
After being teased all year, this was well worth it. The Alchemist’s production is a little bit jazzier & he compliments the yin & yang chemistry between Curren$y & Freddie Gibbs near perfectly. If you wanna hear 2 independent vets form like Voltron, then give this a listen.
After making a strong comeback with his last full-length album album 2017’s You Only Live 2wice, Indiana MC Freddie Gibbs is now returning with his 10th mixtape.
The opener “Weight” of course talks about drugs over a decent trap beat while the next song “Automatic” gets confrontational over a murky beat. The song “Death Row” with 03 Greedo talks about criminal activity over some dinky keys & heavy bass while “Triple Threat” talks about how hot this chick is over a smooth trap beat. The song “2 Legit” gets braggadocious over an amazing sample of Roy Ayers’ “Everybody Loves the Sunshine” & after the FML interlude, we go into the track “Set Set”. Here, Gangsta Gibbs gets lavish over some rattling hi-hats & an atmospheric backdrop. The track “Toe Tag” gets murderous over an eerie beat & the song “F.B.C. (Fendi Buckle Coat)” charismatically talks about how fly he is over a fun beat. Then we get the closer “Diamonds 2”, which serves as a heartwarming sequel to the song “Diamonds” off of his Pronto EP from 2015.
While I still prefer Freddie’s last 2 albums more, this is still solid. Despite Freddie’s gritty lyricism staying in tact & while I also adore the nod to the classic Teddy Pendergrass album Teddy in the artwork, some of the production could’ve been better & the 03 Greedo verse didn’t really do much for me admittedly. Regardless, I think this is still is an enjoyable treat to hold us off until MadGibbs drops Bandana