Showing posts with label freddie gibbs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label freddie gibbs. Show all posts

Thursday, July 4, 2019

video review: 'bandana' by freddie gibbs & madlib

Well, this was... frustrating to some extent? A great album, to be sure, but with the sort of expectations it had, I'm not surprised why it felt a little disappointing overall.

Anyway, next up is something that has no expectations and is bound to be fun to talk about - stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

album review: 'bandana' by freddie gibbs & madlib

I'm genuinely curious how many people remembered the narratives surrounding Freddie Gibbs five years ago.

Because while he was respected by those in the know, you could make the argument his profile had suffered or been marginalized by the split with Jeezy and his debut album ESGN not really hitting as strongly as it should after a string of well-received mixtapes. And while there had been some build-up for his collaboration with Madlib through a couple of scattered singles, there was considerable skepticism, because Madlib does not make easy beats to ride, and his sample-heavy, claustrophobic, and occasionally lo-fi production did not match anything close to the trap for which Gibbs was known.

And while hindsight is 20/20 and in the wake of Pinata being one of the best rap albums of the decade it's easy to say that Freddie Gibbs had just been criminally underrated, I think it's important to highlight how much he has stepped up his skills in the past five years. Not only did his lyricism improve by leaps and bounds but so did his flow and structure and command of melody, and while his past couple projects I've been lukewarm to positive on - the one I didn't review was Fetti and while I was cool on that, it's more because I'm not really a big fan of Curren$y - the hype for his return to working with Madlib was considerable, especially considering the guest talent he was recruiting along the way. Pusha-T was obvious - they play in the same lane and the combination was bound to kick ass - but getting Killer Mike, Anderson .Paak, Mos Def and Black Thought too? As I had to say in my midyear review, the fact I had not covered this album was a considerable asterisk I had to add to the list, because I just hadn't heard enough of it in time to process and think it over. But now I found the time, and the moment is here: what did Gibbs and Madlib deliver on Bandana?

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

video review: 'you only live 2wice' by freddie gibbs

So apparently people are pretty peeved I only found this decent instead of great. Eh, it happens - I know he's capable of far better, so we'll see what happens when that Madlib collab drops.

Anyway, next up is a review that probably should have dropped two months ago... but I have been dreading for some time. Stay tuned?

album review: 'you only live 2wice' by freddie gibbs

If you think you had a bad year in 2016, I think Freddie Gibbs might have you beat. While on tour in France in early summer, he was arrested and later extradited to face sexual assault charges in Austria. And while I immediately got the sinking feeling I get whenever an artist I otherwise like is accused in cases like this, the more I dug into it the more pieces did not seem to come together. This was not a R.Kelly-esque case where evidence and testimony was willfully ignored, and the reason charges were thrown out in the end were because of a lack of evidence - charges, I should add, that were only pursued when the girl came forward eight months after the alleged crime and with no extradition sought from the United States. And considering Austria has an extradition treaty with the United States, it looked sketchy as hell that they had to nab him in France first.

But more than that, even though I don't claim to know Gibbs the allegations didn't make a lot of sense, even from the persona he put forward in his music. Yeah, he's a gangsta rapper, I don't doubt that drugs have been sold and guns have been fired, but especially if you go off of his last two records - and the fact that he was planning to settle down with his long-time girlfriend and infant son - Gibbs always seemed like he played by more of a hard code of honor and seemed to give women a fair amount of respect. Again, you really can't make judgments from music alone - it's not like anyone thought Chris Brown would hit Rihanna before 2009 - but the rapper who made songs like 'Deeper', 'Shame', and 'Insecurities' would engage in that sort of behavior.

So why even bring it up? Well, Gibbs was planning on making a point of addressing it directly on his newest project - which reminded me a lot of what Michael Gira did on that most recent Swans project when allegations were thrown at him - and from the sounds of it, he wasn't about to hold back on getting a second chance at freedom. Gibbs is the sort of guy who would fight tooth and nail to clear his name and set the record straight, and considering we're dealing with one of the most ruthlessly effective gangsta rappers in the industry, I was expecting this newest project - kept trim and focused at eight songs - to hit hard. So does Freddie Gibbs manage to clear his name with You Only Live 2wice?

Monday, November 30, 2015

video review: 'shadow of a doubt' by freddie gibbs

You know, I wish this record had turned out a bit better, but I can see myself going back to it a fair bit, especially considering how strong those hooks were - this album was a lot of real fun.

Next up, Arca - stay tuned!

album review: 'shadow of a doubt' by freddie gibbs

If we were to flash back to about eighteen months ago, before the release of the collaboration project between Freddie Gibbs and Madlib titled Pinata, there would be some that probably didn't care all that much. As much as Gibbs had accumulated respect in the underground for being a hard-edged and reasonably insightful gangsta rapper, he never really stood out as much as some of his contemporaries outside of his refusal to cater to pop tastes and his authoritative voice. And sure, Madlib was bound to give him great production, but that can only go so far - sure, the lead-off singles had been impressive, but would they be enough to put Gibbs back on the map?

Well, to the majority of critics it certainly was, because Pinata was a massive step up not just for Madlib delivering a great selection of colourful old-school production, but Gibbs as well. His wordplay and rapping technique was the strongest it had ever been, and his willingness to show more of a thoughtful picture of gangsta rap gave his pictures a ton of personality. He wasn't so much treading new ground as he was delving deeper and subverting traditional archetypes. For me, it was easily one of the best hip-hop albums of 2014, and thus set some high expectations for a follow-up.

And I'll admit that I was concerned. For one, the guest list was a lot less impressive: where Pinata had Scarface, Raekwon, Danny Brown, Ab-Soul, Earl Sweatshirt, and a host of other spitters, Shadow Of A Doubt looked a lot more sparse. Sure, there was Black Thought, and E-40 was bound to be entertaining, but Tory Lanez and Gucci Mane? As much as I like and respect Freddie Gibbs, I was concerned about a possible regression: did that happen?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

the top albums/songs of the midyear - 2014

Holy shit, this video took hours. Really happy with it... except for some of the volume levels on the music, but that was such a pain in the ass to get right that I'm fine with where they are.

Next up, Mastodon. Stay tuned!

the top albums/songs of the midyear - 2014

I've been debating with myself pretty consistently over the past few weeks whether or not to make this. It's a pretty common thing with critics to take stock of their favourites at this point of the year, and considering I've covered 108 albums thus far this year, in terms of sheer volume it'd make sense for me to go back and take stock of what I've heard and what deserves consideration going into the second half of the year. And while I'm leery about spoiling my year-end list, long-time fans will probably be able to figure that out anyways, so why not go the extra mile and draw a spotlight to some acts that are definitely worth the consideration. 

So without further ado:

Saturday, March 29, 2014

video review: 'piñata' by freddie gibbs & madlib

Man, I needed this album. After a tumultuous week of reviews, this was a good breath of fresh air.

Next up, the insanity resumes with Tokyo Police Club and Anette Olzon, to say nothing of whatever is getting released in April. But first, since you all requested it... Pulses, by Karmin. Stay tuned!

album review: 'piñata' by madlib & freddie gibbs

So here's a complaint that only a music critic will ever make: if you want to come across as remotely knowledgeable as a critic, you'll need to have listened to a lot of music.

Now that's not a bad thing by any stretch, especially considering listening to the greats of any genre is often very rewarding. But at the same time, if you want to come across as any sort of expert - and let's face it, most music critics do - you accumulate a pretty impressive backlog very quickly, especially if you talk about more than one genre. And listening to greatest hits albums doesn't cut it - assuming you've already listened to the essential discographies, your next criterion is to tackle all of the music that might be critically acclaimed within the genre, and not just what got popular. In other words, there's a reason why my backlog is now longer than my entire music collection - and that's just the stuff I know about, and it's not including all the new material I need to listen through this year.

Fortunately, it's always something of a relief whenever a new record comes out by an artist who falls into the critically acclaimed category, because now I can tackle two birds with one stone: review a brand new album and take the excuse to visit the works of artists in my backlog under the pretense of 'research' and 'appropriate context'. And since this album is a collaboration, I get to tackle two artists in question, which is even better! The first you should all know: DJ and hit producer Madlib, responsible for some of the most critically acclaimed collaborations in the underground, most notably with MF Doom for the classic album Madvillainy, which showcased his love for great beats, offkilter 70s blaxploitation samples, and a decidedly unique sound rooted in the fusion between over-the-top kitsch and gangsta grime. The second is Freddie Gibbs, who signed to Interscope in 2006 before leaving the label and becoming an underground star in the mixtape scene, where he developed a reputation as a great technical gangsta rapper with an unfortunate habit of retreading similar ground over and over again. And having relistened to his debut album ESGN, it wasn't exactly an unfair assessment: Gibbs' standard methodology for his rapping was as a thug with a conscience, and that's always a tough balancing act to maintain. And thus, I was intrigued to check out their collaboration, for at least at first, it seemed like an odd fit - how did it go?