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Freddie Gibbs & Madlib

Madlib Invazion / RCA / Keep Cool

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$45.00 SGD
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Freddie Gibbs and Madlib confirm one of the eternal truths of cocaine rap: that cinematic gangsters are as much an influence as real-life villains. These two old souls combined five years ago on Piñata, a coke rap classic that cracked and hissed like a grainy 70s blaxploitation flick. Bandana sees the gruff Indiana rapper and beatnik LA producer again form rich drug-slinging narratives devoid of all glamour or posturing. It’s more cinéma vérité than Brian De Palma, but it comes through in clear Technicolor. 

Much of the grimy realism is down to Gibbs’ performance. Bandana follows him on the day-to-day grind as he slips into the role of iron-willed street soldier, hand-cannon stuffed into his Adidas sweatpants, aiming to get rich or die tryin’. His growled flow can evoke memories of Tupac, but where the latter’s artistry was often fuelled by raw passion, Gibbs, 37, is more cerebral. His writing is full of uncompromising details and he has a flair for building a scene through minutiae. Whether describing using a bandana to wipe fingerprints off a murder weapon on the title track or revealing that the faces of the dead haunt his dreams on Fake Names, Gibbs’ voice carries the hard-lived authenticity of a man who has seen too much.

The beats that form the backdrop to the storytelling set the scene. A producer whose instinct for a sample surely qualifies as a superpower, Madlib plays with old records like a music fan enthralled by dust-caked 45s. Bandana is full of grubby basslines, hard-knocking percussion and decaying vocal loops. Unflashy in his approach, Madlib adds very little dressing to the carved-off soul that forms tracks such as Freestyle, Crime Pays or the dreamy Education, on which guests Yasiin Bey and Black Thought kick enlightened rhymes.

The supporting cast also includes Anderson .Paak, Pusha T and Killer Mike, all of whom give impressive turns. But Gibbs is the star and, behind the boards, Madlib guides him like a skilled director. The result is an album of unvarnished realities transmuting into cinematic excellence – The Guardian

Label: Keep Cool, RCA, Madlib Invazion, Sony Music
Format: Vinyl, LP, Album, Reissue, Remastered, Stereo, Half-Speed Mastered
Country: EU
Released: Jul 26, 2019
Genre: Hip Hop
Style: Gangsta, Jazzy Hip-Hop, Boom Bap, Conscious

File under: Hip-hop