Freddie Gibbs and Madlib’s Essential Return With ‘Bandana’


After a spree of retweets and word-to-mouth marketing, the three-year hiatus for the duo’s 2016 spectacular album is over. Bandana is enriched with fifteen, fluorescently thought-out tracks from the names that Hip-Hop fans cannot remove from their dialogue.

The beat-martyr that is Madlib, whose catalog of infamous loops and beat tapes cannot be praised, even more, is matched with the gritty vernacular of Gary, Indiana Rapper Freddie Gibbs. Just like in 2016’s PinataBandana’s tracks all demonstrate their own personality. Each one giving off their own feeling, arranged by Madlib’s instrumental choice and Gibbs’ recollections of his past.

Freddie Gibbs and Madlib

Illustration by Luca Bowles, Kingston University

Much of the production in this album, as exclaimed by Gibbs, was originally meant for the production of Kanye West’s 2016 album, The Life of Pablo. Much of this project has Madlib holding onto his flare and even at times exceeding his potential, which demands Gibbs to pick up his poetic pace.

Gibbs’ rips and spews speedily away at the loops. His flow only pauses when there is a need for breath. For seconds on end, Gibbs compresses his stories into scrunched segments, articulating his thoughts along with the vibrations of the loop.

Challenged by the beat-switch up of a track like Fake Names, Gibbs paces his flow with a relentless flare for the first half of the song. In the halfway break, his linear flow is sliced and divided into bouncing breathless bars. The instrumental maneuvering of the track manages to tango well with Gibbs’ vocal instruction.

A personal favorite track, Crime Pays, is a collage between what makes Madlib’s production godly and Gibbs’ flow essential. A beautiful collage of chords is sampled and looped under Gibbs breathless liner notes. A nice break in between segments of the track is the vocal portion of Walt Barr’s Free Spirit(1979).

Bandana is the album that fans alike knew would not disappoint. Gibbs’s stories of crime, love, and passion alleviated by the cartoonish production of Madlib is what we expected and what we were delivered. There is no more these two can do that can prove that they’re a perfect collaboration of the Hip-Hop world.

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