September 19, 2009

Freddie Gibbs Makes Some Noise For The Midwest

I had to check out Freddie Gibbs after a veritable praise-fest of a review of his two latest mixtapes at the usually reserved Pitchfork. The review, written by Tom Breihan, features lines like:

- "Gibbs has a hell of an ear for beats"
- "They're really albums more than mixtapes, and they're exceptionally well put-together albums at that."
- "Jesus Christ he can rap"
- "Guys like Freddie Gibbs are saving rap."

When an album leaves a reviewer glowing like this, it's tough to not at least have your interest piqued. If I didn't know better, I'd swear Breihan was working publicity for Gibbs with that review.

Well, after checking out both The Miseducation of Freddie Gibbs and midwestgangstaboxframecadillac, Gibbs' mixtapes, I wanted to throw in my own two cents.

First off, Breihan is right - these mixtapes play more like albums than tapes. They are well organized, consistent, and feature some pretty great original beats. I disagree with his assessment that midwestgangstaboxframecadillac is the better of the two. They are both good, but I find The Miseducation of Freddie Gibbs to be more varied, interesting, and bumpable.

Secondly, Gibbs is indeed a strong voice for Gary, Indiana. In the rap world of East vs. West and South vs. everyone, there's not much room for Midwest voices outside of Chicago and Minneapolis. Gibbs reps GI hard, though, and definitely puts it on the rap radar. What I want to know? Who else is he rapping with? Is he flying solo, or is there a Gary scene waiting to bust out?

Thirdly, although I have more reservations, I think Breihan is on the right track. Gibbs is a hell of a rapper, able to bounce on slow jams while equally capable of spitting fire over a quick beat. His tapes sound like the product of a career grinder, a rapper not looking to make it big, but looking to let out what's inside. His one downfall may be that he may not have much to say. What happens when you take someone who raps all about Gary, Indiana and put him in LA or NYC? Judging from his failed signing with Interscope, not good things.

Regardless, I'm glad I checked these tapes out. There are some hot beats and very good tracks coursing through these collections that I would never have otherwise caught. Lesson learned: Read between the coasts.

Freddie Gibbs - GI Pride (YSI) (filesavr)

Freddie Gibbs - Boxframe Cadillac (YSI) (filesavr)

Freddie Gibbs - Neverending Cycle (YSI) (filesavr)

Cop the whole mixtapes here and here

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JK said...

I listened to Freddie Gibbs for a while this past month and I'm still not sold. It's hard for me to really get through his newest mixtape too. There just isn't a lot there for me I guess. Or if there is I sure can't hear it.

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