After the infinite goodness that is Pinata, I’ve decided to take on the semi-project of Freddie Gibbs’ back-catalog. These pieces will be pretty spaced out because my to-do list is dumb-long. And they’ll likely be short, because I doubt I’ll have tons to say about years-old releases. I’m starting with The Miseducation of Freddie Gibbs off Dave’s recommendation.
I had almost no idea of what I was walking into, and I’m somewhat disappointed.
I knew that, simply because the beats came from people not named Madlib, Gibbs’ other albums have a hard time measuring up to Pinata. But Miseducation sounds like a damn demo: a couple jacked beats, other, decidedly wacker, beats, less than polished writing, and HORRIBLE mixing. Checking his wikipedia, I see that Miseducation came out before he even signed to Jeezy’s CTE label. So this is reeeaaally old, and early in Gibbs’ career, and that’s why I’m only kind of disappointed.
I Have no beef with jacked beats, especially when you pick good ones like Tupac’s Bury Me a G and Xzibit’s Paparazzi. In fact, I wish there were more of those instead of the original beats that he chose. Many are too simple and sound too much like what the rest of hip-hop was doing at the time. They’re not so bad as to be ruinous, but they strongly dampen the music’s energy.
I said his writing is less polished because many of the hooks are simple repetitions, four bar stanzas that could have just as easily been a part of verses. They don’t have the catchiness that hooks need, and the beats often don’t vary in order to emphasize them. Other than that this is still Freddie Gibbs the lyricist gangsta, so I don’t have any big complaints about his verses. Of course his current raps, with the benefit of five more years of practice and experience, is much better, but on Miseducation he’s still good.
Worse than everything else combined is that Miseducation has all the hallmarks of an amateur mix. The vocals are mixed way quieter than needed, and songs with more energized beats are much louder than the others. Some songs even have volume differences between their hooks and verses.
Even with those complaints, there’s still a lot of potential to note in The Miseducation of Freddie Gibbs. The thug talk has the details that anchor it in reality, and the stories about women include the same humility that I loved on Pinata’s Deeper. One interesting topic that I didn’t notice on Pinata but that is extremely prevalent here is his love for his hometown. Gary, Indiana is shouted out numerous times and one song, G.I. Pride is all about the city. I wonder what made him become less blatant about representing Gary? I Suspect that, as he matured, he just doesn’t feel the need to be so obvious about it anymore.
Verdict: If you can get past the hooks and mix, there’s a lot of like about The Miseducation of Freddie Gibbs. Sadly, I’m not up to that task. Even so, seeing the good in 2009’s Freddie Gibbs and comparing that guy to the artist we have now is a fun exercise.
- How We Do