ALFREDO: ALBUM REVIEW
“God made me sell crack so I'd have somethin' to rap about,” Freddie Gibbs spits on the standout track “Something to Rap About” on his new album Alfredo. It sets the tone for the entire project and showcases why so many people have grown to love him.
Freddie Gibbs is one of the most talented people on the planet. He has established himself as an incredibly consistent rapper over the course of the last decade, releasing at least one mind-blowing project per year, but he’s best known for his collaborations with the producer Madlib (Piñata and Bandana). On his newest project, Alfredo, he proves that he can capture the exact same magic with a new producer. Alfredo is set up to feel like a crime movie: from the godfather-referencing cover art to the Italian action-movie-sampling beats, Freddie paints himself as a mob boss. A lot of great art has the power to transform how one sees their surroundings. But with Freddie Gibbs, he immerses himself in those surroundings and becomes indistinguishable from them. This makes him the perfect artist to accompany the world in times of crisis.
It is clear that much of the album was recorded in the last few months because although Freddie still mostly raps about crack, he throws in pop culture and pandemic-related content as much as possible. Even when Freddie switches up his usual themes to talk about Doja Cat, it still comes off as effortlessly cool. Since this album was recorded so recently it feels very immediate in a way that few other projects this year have. The lyrics on this album feel like things that Gibbs just needed to get off of his chest as quickly as possible.
Freddie spits my favorite verse of the year so far on the incredible “Scottie Beam.” He raps, “Told the Gary Police in '05 that I got more guns than them Get the feds if you want a war, and they sent them bitches in,” These lines feel especially pertinent this week. Freddie Gibbs has always been defiantly anti-police and his voice feels like a calming presence now. The entire verse is about a struggle between him and the police, coming to a head with the line “The revolution is the genocide.” This line is left up to the interpretation of the listener as Gibbs intentionally keeps it vague about which side will commit the genocide in the revolution.
The features on the project also can’t be ignored. Tyler the Creator, Rick Ross Benny the Butcher, and Conway all are in peak-form and rapping over beats that were built to fit each of their styles. Although each artist shines in their own way, only Benny the Butcher manages to hold a candle to Freddie on the song “Frank Lucas.” Freddie starts the song off strong then throws an alley-oop to Benny who drops one of the best verses of his career. It is definitely a highlight on an already stacked album.
If you haven’t heard this album, it’s time. Freddie Gibbs is a force and will be for many years to come.