I gotta stop predicting what my next posts will be, especially when I haven’t even started listening to the predicted next album yet. Lost? Well in my last post I said I’d be writing about The Procussions latest album very soon. But, turns out it’s now two or three weeks later and I haven’t even cracked that album open yet. I’ve been distracted by this Freddie Gibbs EP, Drake’s latest simp manual, the Flatbush Zombies’ mixtape, and the desperate struggle to find something worthwhile in 2 Chainz’ album.
So. Freddie Gibbs. Gary, Indiana. Sellin’ drugs and shootin’ fools. I don’t remember what the song was, but I tried listening to Gangsta Gibbs before and was very bored. It just sounded like a boring beat with an average thug rapper. So I was content to ignore Gibbs after that. But Max’s piece on HipHopIsntDead convinced me to give Freddie another chance. Apparently, I needed to hear the fire that Statik Selektah’s hit-streak-continuing beats brought out of Freddie.
So let’s get to the business at hand, my thoughts on the EP, The Lord Giveth, The Lord Taketh Away, whose full name I refuse to type anymore. Given my intro to Freddie Gibbs, it’s surprisingly ok. Statik’s boom-bap beats play point guard well, providing a few awesome set-ups for Freddie Gibbs to tear down. Gibbs can REALLY rap when he feels compelled to do so, and I think these beats with their upgraded energy forced him to wake up. Note that I’m only talking about speed and rhyme-schemes. Gibbs’ rhymes sound better but his topical M.O. is still gangsta boasting. Such monotony can’t blow me away continuously but on the occasions when it all came together I was very impressed. But while the couple high points must be heard, there’s a lot wrong here as well.
So what are my problems with Freddie Gibbs Calls The Heavenly Father an Indian-Giver? Before heading down that road I want to stay positive and point out that the best two songs are really, really, good, and are named Affiliated and The Lord Giveth, The Lord Taketh Away (damnit, title song made me break my word!) Affiliated is one of those songs that starts immediately and before I’d realized it, I’d heard extremely dope verses from Freddie and Reks and needed to catch my breath. But, and here begins the negativity, Affiliated is also one of many songs on this EP that suffers from bad features. Somebody named PUSH! Montana stumbles through the end of Affiliated, sounding like a cheaper version of Freeway. PUSH!’s verse isn’t terrible, but the other verses are so much better that his becomes unnecessary. Other subpar features include Daz, Fred the Godson, and Trae the Truth, whose whispering delivery is sooooooo annoying! Gangsters don’t whisper! This EP is only seven songs long and just about every one has a featured rapper, most of whom aren’t up to the task of keeping the pace.
Features may have taken some songs down a notch, but general execution errors ruined more moments. The worst example is Keep It Warm For Ya, where Statik’s perfectly fine soul beat gets used for a stupid sex song that’s just nasty. On other songs, it seems that the different-than-his-usual instrumentals motivated Freddie to try, and fail, to do other topics justice. While I appreciate that artistic move, he’s clearly most experienced with the gangsta persona.
Overall, I’m impressed that a not-so-creative gangsta rapper made a couple really interesting songs. But the initial shock of these songs has subsided, and I see Lord Giveth for the two out of seven effort that it is. Apparently this was all recorded in one day, and it shows: the string of features must have made finishing songs easier, and the bad ideas weren’t reworked but still made the final cut due to time issues. Those are my guesses at least.
I doubt that I’ll play this EP anymore beyond infrequently going back to my favorite songs. But it proves that there’s more to Gibbs than I thought: he can really spit when given the right instrumental. I’ll start paying attention to him now, hoping that he learns from this and one day spends a proper amount of time working on East Coast-influenced music.