Review Summary: Balance, background, and ability.
Every year, XXL Magazine has a “freshmen” cover to honor the best up-and-coming rappers. Along with J. Cole, Fashawn, Jay Rock, Nipsey Hussle, OJ da Juiceman, Wiz Khalifa, Big Sean, Pill, and Donnis, Freddie Gibbs appeared on the cover, and thusly, finally garnered some of the public recognition he merited. After Jay Rock, Freddie Gibbs was the most deserving of the ten to appear, as he has both the music, and the background to warrant a complete
rapping career. After growing up in the crime-stricken city of Gary, Indiana, Freddie Gibbs played football at Ball State University, only to be expelled, sent to boot camp, and then promptly kicked out of there, as well. Out of options, Freddie Gibbs turned to pimping and dealing crack to stay alive. An all-natural blend of Tupac, Pimp C, and Z-Ro, Freddie Gibbs is not only real, but is talented, too.
With the criminality tales and socioeconomic depression of Tupac; odes to pimping and funk’n’soul-influenced beats akin to those of Pimp C; and the deep, dejected voice and marijuana tributes of Z-Ro, it’s easy to observe how Freddie Gibbs is so awesome. With an awesome resume and a legitimate degree, Freddie Gibbs adds his own touch to his influences, as to emplace originality on his music. Gibbs takes a grittier point of view than Tupac, has more chill, melodic beats than Pimp C had, and his voice is slightly less gravelly and deep than Z-Ro’s and isn’t as obsessed with marijuana as Z-Ro is.
In essence, Freddie Gibbs is a perfect mix of the south and the west. With the swag of the south (“Goodies w/Black Flint,” “Flamboyant”) and the street of the west (“The World So Cold,” “It’s About to Be a Murder”) Freddie Gibbs spits some great narratives over atmospheric, chill instrumentals.
Over the twinkles, subtle percussion, and sorrowful violins of ‘It’s About to Be a Murder’ Gibbs mournfully says that, where he’s from, people don’t live long enough for their hair to turn gray. So while Freddie is boastful of his monetary exploits and drug-related indulgences, he’s still mindful of his hard knock life origins.