BANGER! (HIP-HOP): FREDDIE GIBBS – “SHADOW OF A DOUBT”
Gary, Indiana product and skilled storyteller Freddie Gibbs is back with a new tape that is less “Piñata” and more “BFK” with his album “Shadow of a Doubt.” The album, released on November 20th under ESGN Records and Empire Distribution, is a little more than a year removed from “Piñata” album, where he joined forces with DJ and producer Madlib, who lent his expertise to produce the entirety of Gibbs’ sophomore album. The collaborative album was a bit uncharacteristic of Gibbs’ style but received positive reviews and critical acclaim, setting a pretty lofty bar for his future projects, one being his newest album “Shadow of a Doubt.”
The sound of ‘Gangsta Gibbs’ is hard, gruff and real, a true gangster rapper, though he simply speaks on a reality most wouldn’t understand in a Tupac-esque, unforgiving manner that seems harsh to the disconnected. Gibbs’ content is often introspective, telling the story of a man that was born and raised in that poverty stricken environment, an environment where not many make it out alive. Gary, Indiana claims one of the highest murder and crime rates in the U.S and Freddie Gibbs doesn’t shy away from speaking on his experiences whether it’s selling narcotics, drug use, robbery and/or murder. With this said, don’t assume that Gibbs is anything less than a strong wordsmith with intricate thoughts whom deserved his praise and recognition for his overall body of work.
Gibbs presented a different sound on his last album ‘Piñata’ mainly because of Madlib’s intricate style that had such great quality that demonstrated both Gibbs’ versatility and lyrical excellence. This album has one major difference off the bat, the lineup of producers is a longer list of names and styles, not one being Madlib. Freddie Gibbs admits that Madlib’s production ‘made him a better rapper’ and made him want to step up his game up lyrically while continuing to sport his trademark deep-toned roughness that fans love and he succeeds generally speaking. I believe he’s evolved as an artist, his message is still clear and concise; speaking on the ‘dope boy’ hustle, old experiences with drugs and the street life, doing anything it takes to survive in a rough area, this is especially true in the song “Forever and a Day.” One thing that I would consider a surprise is that on many occasions Freddie Gibbs is singing his own hooks and choruses, however unexpected, his crooning is a good fit on some songs like “Careless” and “Insecurities.” Overall the project has well-made beats and hot songs, with some lackluster songs here and there, but don’t expect a repeat of his last album because “Shadow of a Doubt” is classic Freddie Gibbs.
P.S: Freddie doesn’t shy away from being graphic or explicit in any way when it comes to his content so step away from the flames of Freddie if you can’t handle the scary truth. I usually like to leave the comparisons to the listeners, but if anything I hope you enjoy. I recommend keeping this CD in your car to bump to.
Disclaimer: There is strong, suggestive language and the ugly truth.