Release Date: March 31, 2017
Label: ESGN / Empire
Genre: Gangsta Rap / Midwest Hip Hop
Freddie Gibbs has not been an artist that I have listened to in the past. I had always heard his name, but for some reason, I never really had any desire to explore his music. So, when I heard that he would be releasing a new album this year, after having some legal problems in Austria last year, I honestly felt that I had to give this album a listen. So, what did I think of this album? Well…
In opposition to one of the previous albums (or playlist, or what have you) that I reviewed, this album has fourteen fewer tracks. That was a big plus for me. It’s not that I do not enjoy it when some artists put more than, say, fifteen tracks on an album, but there are some artists who simply cannot do that. While I enjoyed the shorter length of this album, I feel as though this album should have been maybe two or three tracks longer. I feel as though it didn’t go fully into what Gibbs wanted to get across, but that certainly does not mean that this was a bad album. Not in the slightest.
“20 Karat Jesus,” which is probably one of the most awesome names for a song that I have ever heard in my entire life, is an awesome opening track. The production is simply epic and Gibbs goes into many topics, such as the Solange/Jay Z incident and the mannequin challenge. The overall track basically details his career as a cocaine dealer in the past. “Alexys” is another epic song, though I would consider it to be on a lower level than its predecessor. Much like “20 Karat Jesus,” this track goes back to the topic of cocaine and drug dealing, though this one seems to be about his first time doing the drug and dealing it as well.
In “Crushed Glass,” Gibbs goes into explicit and gritty detail about his time in jail and the reasons that he was arrested in the first place. The lines “I just beat a rape case, groupie bitch I never fucked / Tried to give me ten for some pussy I never touched” really showcases the absurdity of why this all happened in the first place. “Maria” is perhaps my least favorite track on the album. In the track, Gibbs raps about a past love named Maria, but this could possibly be symbolic of marijuana. His conflicting opinions about his time with “Maria” is actually quite relatable in some respects. The reason I do not particularly enjoy this track is because Gibbs just seems to mumble/half-rap on here that I find it a bit hard to understand at times.
“Amnesia” is a track where Gibbs raps about the lifestyle that he has become accustomed to after becoming a rapper while comparing himself to other rappers that may or may not live the same way or live up to Gibbs’s expectations of how a rapper should live. Also, the concept that money is somehow a cause of amnesia is actually quite clever. “Andrea” is about on the same level as the previous two tracks, though I would say that it is superior only because of the hook as it sort has this G-Funk vibe to it.
“Phone Lit” is a big step-up from the last three tracks where the instrumentation and production sounds as though it could have been recorded in the early to mid 2000’s and done really well at the time. The album’s last track “Homesick” closes out the album on a very high note. In the track, Gibbs raps about returning from jail and makes the vow to never be away from his daughter again and not live his life for his so-called “friends.”
I am giving this album an 81 / B- because while it had many high points, there were some aspects of it that could have been worked on. It feels as though Gibbs was in a bit of a hurry to get this album to release. While the length was managable, I feel that he could have recorded two or three more tracks to make the album seem a bit more whole.
Favorite tracks include: “20 Karat Jesus,” “Homesick,” “Phone Lit,” and “Crushed Glass.”