Published on March 13th, 2014 | by Boman12l0
Freddie & Madlib – Piñata First Impressions
Since Freddie Gibbs and Madlib announced they were working together way back in 2011 with the Thuggin EP, I’ve been tireless waiting in anticipation to hear what the two would do on a full project. To tell the truth, I wasn’t familiar with Gibbs’s catalog back then. I knew the name in passing, but his music wasn’t, to say, on my radar. However, the wait for Piñata gave me plenty of time to know the MC from Gary Indiana.
It’s not like the wait wasn’t interesting, new singles from the duo “Shame”, “City” and “Harold’s” were great; however, tickled out at a snail’s pace, only adding to the excitement. Unlike the infamous Madvillainy leak, Gibbs and Madlib where keeping this under close lock and key. Then yesterday afternoon, less than a week before the official release date, the internet got its hands on Piñata.
On first listen it appears like many Madlib projects in the past. Jackson’s hypnotic loops — heavy on procession with slight variations often cut with samples instead of the scratches. Paired alongside an emcee with unique vocal qualities and cadences, Gibbs, with his gravelly voice and often lightning fast flow, make the perfect match. Then you hear the differences. How Madlib gives Gibbs more move for his monstrous flows or how Gibbs is moving with Madlib’s production, not simply rhyming on top of it. One has to be a special MC to get the most out of Madlib production and Gibbs is proving that here.
Many will be familiar with earlier released tracks, but other stand outs include: “Knicks”, “Lakers”, “Shitville” and “Real”. The latter gaining the most attention since the leak, seeing how it is another Jeezy diss. At this point Gibbs’ issues with former label head Jeezy are well known. For over a year now, there have been numerous “diss” tracks aimed at Jeezy from Gibbs and that perhaps (for me) has lessen the impact of “Real”. Yes Madlib supplies a sharp aggressive beat for Gibbs to go in on, aside from a few lines about being scared of Ross (who Jeezy has made up with now) and Gucci, it nothing we haven’t heard before. Gibbs is a gifted and dope rapper. I — selfishly – do not want him to be known as “the rapper who has perpetual beef Jeezy.” Gibbs was doing great before Jeezy and he will continue to do great after Jeezy, move on.
There is much going on with the 17 track project. While the guest list may seem packed (Danny Brown, Raekwon, Scareface, Ab-Soul, Domo Genesis, Earl Sweatshirt, Mack Miller to name a few), many of these appearances come on two jam pack posse cuts near the end of the album. This is very much the Freddie Gibbs and Madlib show. While there are plenty of “Gangsta Gibbs” moments, there are perhaps just as many intimate ones as well. Gibbs has always been one for self-reflection and introspective. Tracks “Broken” Feat Scarface, “Shitville” and “Higher” feat Danny Brown and filled with Gibbs’ honest, often witty, reflections.
I’ll most likely have a full review next week. Hopefully there will be an official stream on the net before then now that it’s leaked. On first impressions, Freddie Gibbs’ and Madlib’s Piñata was worth the wait.