Review Summary: A trip down memory lane, Freddie is a modern take on 90's rap.
In today's hip-hop scene, people tend to shy away from raw rapping talent. Gone are the days of Tupac Shakur, Nas and The Notorious B.I.G., when the scene was more focused on how good the flow was and the rest came second. It would seem that now you need some sort of a gimmick like a goofy dance, a flashy image, and at least a dozen or so other producers and artists featuring on your tracks to get noticed. This is where Freddie Gibbs stands out in today's hip-hop scene; by turning his back on these new trends and bringing forth a style that hearkens back to the 90's. This is the throwback you didn't realize you needed.
Freddie Gibbs seems to be very focused on making an impression with his rapping. His flow is undeniable, as is his ability to rhyme, never mincing words and varying the speed of his delivery. It's easy to see who his influences are, yet that's not all he offers. Production on this album is beyond solid, with deep bass lines being at the very core of it all, and simple but effective beats complimenting the bass in a most satisfying way. In fact some tracks stand out based on the merits of production alone, which is crucial to a good rap album. Gibbs show's a knack for varying his style of production, going back and forth between an aggressive gangster rap style heard on “Automatic”, to a more g-funk inspired offering like “Triple Threat”.
While he changes the vibe of the album throughout it's run, his style of rapping sadly does not show the same variation. Gibbs has one tone of voice throughout nearly the entire listen. His subject matter is fairly linear too, using subjects such as drug dealing, gang banging and wealth over and over. It can become tiresome after a few spins, with Gibbs patting his ego in some way on nearly every track. It makes one think of just how perfect the entire effort may have been with a bit more variation in lyrical content, as Gibbs shows a lot of talent.
“Freddie” is a good effort from a very talented rap veteran. It's a fun listen that will sound familiar to fans of 90's hip hop, and it doesn't try to emulate modern trends in hip hop, which can be refreshing. However Gibb's subject matter is not, which really holds this album back in a big way. If Gibbs can overcome this on his next effort, it might be very special.