There has been an argument around the state of Hip Hop and Rap recently.
Concerns with where the importance of the genre is being placed right now have been raised. Is the focus on the lyrics and subject matter or is the focus on the sound and production quality? This is an argument I see being made often. Although some music now days leans more toward the production end then the actual lyrics, there are still some artist who come up with a good balance of the two. One of these artists is rapper, Freddie Gibbs.
Freddie Gibbs is a native of Gary, Indiana, and although he has been in the rap game for sometime, is the subject of a lot of talk this year due to his album “Bandana.” Freddie teamed up with producer Madlib for this project and their collaboration works out very well. Madlib is a well known producer who has worked with Talib Kwali, Snoop Dogg, De La Soul and many other hip hop heavyweights. Although this isn’t their first time working together, I do believe this project was the best blending of the two styles.
Gibbs uses this album to show off his lyrical wizardry and amazing control of breathe as he packs as many bars and nuggets of wisdom into a verse as he possibly can, leaving no wasted air on the track. He dives into his own past in the street life, while also providing cautionary tales related to drug dealing, the music industry or sometimes even cross-comparing the two experiences to each other. He also makes several claims about his authenticity and skill, and backs them up by aligning himself with legendary MCs such as, The Root’s Black Thought, Yassin Bey (Mos Def), Pusha T and a few other artists. He manages to hold his own next to these legends.
This is all comes perfectly together under the umbrella of Madlibs’ production. Madlib provides a variety of beats and sounds. Some of these sounds echo that of an earlier era of rap while some of them are in a lane of their own, possibly outside the realm of hip hop. Freddie approaches all this with enthusiasm as he does the other challenges posed against him and leaves us with the very fulfilling end product that is this album which should be a contender for rap album of the year.