In 2014, Freddie Gibbs paired up with legendary producer Madlib to release one of the most critically acclaimed rap albums of the recent decade: Piñata.
Five years later, in 2019, the duo reunited to release Bandana, which received nearly just as much praise as its preceding album did.
In a similar fashion, Freddie Gibbs recently teamed up with producer The Alchemist to drop Alfredo, just two years after the duo’s album Fetti.
Making his name as one of the hardest gangster rappers of this generation, Freddie Gibbs is known for two things: hard lyrics and quick verses. Gibbs’ style is reminiscent of older, 90’s era rap, as he effortlessly squeezes multiple rhymes and double entendres in every line of a verse.
Gibbs’ lyrical proficiency flows serenely over The Alchemists’ smooth, cold production throughout the entire project.
“1985” opens the album with a beat focused primarily on crooning, seductive guitar licks. Freddie paints pictures of himself dealing drugs and explains life on the streets, comparing himself to the likes of Joe Pesci. Right off the bat, we understand that Freddie is certainly a mobster that is not to be reckoned with.
Gibbs and The Alchemist teamed up to release a music video for the opening track of this album, providing a visual aid for what the sound of Alfredo might look like. It’s exactly what you’d expect.
The Alchemist showcases more smooth production for Gibbs to work with on tracks like “God Is Perfect” and “Scottie Beam”, both featuring piano and horns.
Obviously, a Freddie Gibbs project would be incomplete without some solid features. As if “Scottie Beam” didn’t already sound like a smokey casino full of mafia members, Rick Ross spits his feature over wailing piano.
Other features include Benny the Butcher, Conway the Machine, and even Tyler the Creator.
Throughout the album, Gibbs references different scenarios that epitomize himself as a hard gangster. Cooking & selling cocaine. Pleading the fifth. Robbing country clubs. Sporting a Porsche, wearing expensive jewelry, naming all of “his” women.
“Frank Lucas” might have the darkest, most harrowing beat from this project, but is followed by a calm, smooth beat on “Something to Rap About” with Tyler, The Creator. A more relaxed track, The Alchemist uses an array of soft strings to complement Freddie’s storytelling and Tyler’s deep, guttural voice.
Every track from this album features an assortment of older instruments: woodwind pipes, classical piano, old guitar, soul samples, and brass horns. The sound of the album matches the way the cover looks: dark, old, and classy.
The older sounding production coalesces with Gibb’s hard raps to create a picture of some smokey room filled with cold, hard mobsters gambling at mahogany tables.
My only complaint about this project is it might come off as a bit repetitive. Each track retains its own distinct beat, but they begin to blur towards the end of the project as each song practically features the same instruments as the earlier tracks did.
However, this record is certainly one of the best rap albums of this year and shows why Freddie Gibbs continues to be one of the best current rap artists.
Gibbs and his team are even selling shirts with this lyric from “Scottie Beam” on the Alfredo website, all funds go to the families of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery.
Robbie Baker is a .WAV staff member, he wrote the article. Image credit to Freddie Gibbs and The Alchemist.