FREDDIE GIBBS & MADLIB – PINATA Review

By SUNEZ

It be’s so violent in these streets my Poppa killed before I was conceived. So hazed up my bitch failed them piss test just from sucking my dick. Deal so many mufu-in drugs them drug multi-cos consult til they execs get multiples…

Madlib isn’t beat oil to Gibbs’ verse water. Pause.  That’s a weak theme when Madlib the Beat Conducta been producing for hardcore MCs.  Entire albums have been produced for the most oddly bunched MC catalog that exemplifies his diversity.  From Guilty Simpson to Strong Arm Steady to Planet Asia, LPs and EPs been blessed for the streets by Madlib.  The real treat of Pinata is that Freddie Gibbs is an extra ordinary MC who has not had an LP of classic production and Madlib, himself, has not shared an MC with the particular tempos and intensity Gibbs offers.

One of the rare beat specialists that literally becomes another vocalist on his records, Madlib samples arcane dialogue to chaotically hype-man songs.  “Scarface” cuts through Dom Pachino’s “blood gushing I think I hear sirens” to a cinema bassline of pending fatally and ambulance sirens.  The thudding bassline pumps every bar and “Gangbusters!” yells and city horns peel through.  Madlib instrumentals don’t have textbook formats or simple tv track versions.  He matches the frenetic jittery pace Gibbs is used to when he bars over trillville as with the blipping and bleeping, digi-thump of “High.”  When they seem simple with a grooving bassline off a long violin loop as “Deeper” this is where Madlib accentuates the quality of his equalizing and the deep sonic sound he achieves. The bass isn’t just there but literally deep and with the MC to match is a classic groove.  Most importantly, an MC of extreme technical abilities, Gibbs is challenged constantly by Madlib. From the thumping bass break and soul jazz guitar licks of “Terrorist” or just the Manhattans cooling the vibe till the chop loop is extracted for “Shame,” Gibbs is given forums that demand altered tempos, cadences.  We can even guess the illness provoked the topical diversity.

Freddie Gibbs is a straight up nigga. White folk told me he’s Black as fuck and shoots every extra photographer in the hamstring so check your math.  Hamstring?  Mufuckas know to run but it’s always too late. 

Gibbs is a technician of mic mastery.  He has Kool G Rap tempo supremacy and an alike battle viciousness.  He rolls with assonance perfectly on “Uno” to a “number one with a bullet” similar to G Rap chorus that may have been coincidence. Gibbs never didn’t rhyme with passion but real beats give the challenge for natural flows. Natural flows that reveal the realness that goes beyond the street but into the music and the proper Hip Hop way, itself (And I don’t believe these rap niggas/You can front for your fans, but I know it’s an act, nigga/Judge a man by his character and not by his wealth/A real G, I never kissed niggas or shot myself/Gangsta Gibbs”).  The Gibbs’ technical residence is a rare company that lets him break rules with daring, speeding up and chasing bars to fit as on “Thuggin.”   Able to speed through dynamically and literally throw the chorus, a slow, drawled out “Thuggin’” in the midst of rapid bars.  These feats of skill make for an incredible album because they are constantly.  They are the inflections on “Shitsville” (“I do not give a solitary fuck”), the calmly paced breath control of “Deeper,” intensely layered verses on “Real” or the doubling up of bars effortlessly on “Shame.” As Madlib noted about “Scarface,” all of Gibbs’ bars are perfectly on beat throughout and it is so throughout Pinata.

Lyrically, Gibbs dexterity has often masked topical deficiency.  His content is streets, hoes and more money by any means, being the worst means.  Throughout Pinata, that pattern has led to many fucked up assumptions about the value of Gibbs’ content.  Here, content defined in these manners is the wrong way to see a brother’s depth on the mic.  Gibbs’ holds the fury of the great young MC, a Tupac-ian anger in a burgeoning prime, rebellious against bullshit, laughing at hypocrisy labels but basking in the contradictions of this devilish cipher we strive through.  There is much Gibbs can share and Pinata broadens his subject matter while fully displaying his mic methods.

Trademark the #PrettyHiccup, package the piano keys and mason the bricks to a mansion, nigga, nigga, NIGGA!!!!!!  Ain’t you sick of rap writing?  Fuck an article on gangsta niggas rapping and media sweat selling.  I’ll be a fucking rapper too and ride on them all…

Enjoying Gibb’s talent on Pinata’s Madlib creativity only serves as an anomaly as he has blessed the shittiest of trapped and trilled tracks too long.  Gibbs’ work with Statik Selektah and select highlights mostly heard on the Str8 Killa No Filla mixtape reveal the Boom Bap—no, proper, creative, classically drummed, innovatively crate dug breaks—is what he deserves.  While this work signals what should be the beds Gibbs’ looks for to lay his bars on, it misses on one major account.  Aside from veteran legends Raekwon and Scarface offering some respectable verses, today’s rap niggas make the mistakes Gibbs doesn’t even know existed.  Starting with Ab-Soul, an overhyped lyricist, bodies his own self, fumbling the flow on “Lakers.”  It’s not a pause technique when he stutters through “I mean I love New York, but of course…(awkward pause)… /I live out there…(awkward pause)… so don’t go there, you heard it before”—it’s a mistake.  Or the cliches (Domo Genesis with hyper ventilated pretty hiccup subtleties) or mainstream talkers out of place (Mac Miller) or just the stupid sonics of some (Danny Brown) that reduce the timelessness putting Pinata into today’s context of weaker rappers and MCs, worst fake and mediocre real.

But it’s all supreme simplicity for Pinata. There is no deeper “Knowledge God” of Cuban Linx or greater details of our hell wars of Me Against the World. But it is dynamically scored furthering Madlib’s continuing catalog as a legendary producer exhibiting Gibbs’ athletic dexterity and cleverly raw visuals that earn Pinata shuffles in these greater playlists of lore.

Raps, raps, raps…They pencil in riff raff, now the tales freddie tells become gibberish. Bitch camo, their words are dead ammo, letters that fatten fifteen minutes. Sunez, Premiere text, live it. Dead the chart dependents and pop defendants–all features for jacking journalists. Pinata’s explode mad liberation, off the bad writer inflation, Gibbs inspiration interrupts cliché representation….