I’m still playing Pinata occasionally, but my new favorite gangsta rapper, Freddie Gibbs, saw fit to generously sneak a three-track EP to the public. Pronto is exactly what I want from Gibbs, well-written crime rhymes over masterfully crafted beats.
The music here is more downbeat than I expected, which provides an interesting contrast with Fred’s manic rhymes. He’s never been a slouch to me, but the verses here are especially skilled and energetic. On Pronto, he switches speeds from line to line, from melodic to frantic, but every word is completely clear and worthy of being said (unlike some other rappers with speed out there *cough* Twista and Busta Rhymes *cough*). While he’s using this style to explain his criminal mind-frame, the instrumental hauntingly wafts behind him, never stealing attention but deserving it all the same.
As on Pinata, my favorite track is where Gangsta Gibbs shows more realism in his music. White Range has him first transporting packages of dope, appreciating his tough past and later success, and in the second verse, he realizes how much he cares for his girlfriend after she catches him in a lie about another woman and leaves. But what cements my love for this song is the blues vibe of the beat, making it fit his stories extremely well.
Nobody‘s too gangsta for a cheesy smile with their newborn daughter.
Diamonds has a similar high quality and rhyme-to-instrumental contrast as the two songs described above, but it just can’t compare to them. Its beat is probably the simplest out of the three, and Gibbs’ hook is too basic to impress me much. Still, the song isn’t bad, and I never mind playing it.
And that quickly, the EP is over. I imagine some fans are annoyed that this ride finished so quickly, but I’m ecstatic that it turned out so well, and, owing to the similar mood on each song, Pronto’s joy does not diminish at all when played repeatedly. Gibbs can do more than a few styles well, including East Coast boom-bap, soul samples, and backpack hip-hop, and now I can add this smoky, menacing lane to that list. I’ve no idea when his next album is coming, but I’m fine enjoying the hell out of Pronto until then!