Freddie Gibbs: The Resurrection

Gibbs continues to impress his fans, never compromising his identity, all while facing controversy.

It is an anomaly in the current state of hip-hop, to run into an MC that can spit 4 minutes straight with no hooks, make sense, all while pleasing the ears. When I learned of Freddie Gibbs in 2014 through his first, Madlib produced album, “Pinata”, it was a breath of fresh air. After beating a bogus case in 2016 that was pinned on him from a random groupie in Austria, and spending 10 (non-guilty) months in an Austrian jail, Gibbs` new tape “You Only Live Twice” expresses his frustration for the legal system and his growing lack of trust towards most people, with the exception of his family. Although the legal system continuously puts this man down, he perseveres and never lets his fans down, recently finishing a U.S. tour this past June in promotion of this project. The project starts with “20 Karat Jesus”, the Pops/ Speakerbomb trap-like instrumental drops hard, followed by the Gary, Indiana based rapper spitting bars in his usual, harsh, Tupac like manner. He makes a lot of references to his “old” life in this project, insinuating that he has made a three-sixty transformation, forcing him to cut off a lot of his past relationships. He has also learned that his “friends” weren`t really who he thought they were. In the last track of the mixtape, “Homesick”, he mentions while he was away from the U.S. in prison, Erica (his baby momma) was the only one to check on him and visit him to make sure he was being treated properly, while his “homies” were at home trying to take what he built. We all learn this lesson one day hopefully, though it’s a tough pill to swallow, but it seems Gibbs` learned the hard way and most probably will be keeping a smaller circle. YOL2wice consisting of only 8 tracks, still managed to have a fairly hype single “Crushed Glass”, which is accompanied by a meaningful music video. My favorite track on this project though, is “Andrea”, first of all, because of the relaxing beat created by Crooklin, SLWJMZ and Pops with a trippy synth sample and captivating bass line. Moreover, what Gibbs is speaking on in the track clearly shows the confliction he seems to have between his new and old lifestyle, not to forget the hilarious voice message in the middle of the song, from his late uncle Big Time Watts (rest in peace) Overall though, this project is one with meaning, emotion and sonically it is great. I hope Gibbs continues to put out raw projects like this and maintains his “realness”, while separating himself from the phonies he mentions on in this project. I can`t wait to hear more from this man, until then this one is on loop mode.

 

-Snelren

Jay Worthy and Alchemist take us to “Fantasy Island”

Anytime Alan the Chemist (the Alchemist) is the executive producer on a song, mix tape, album- or whatever, it’s a must listen in my book. As a native New Yorker I can really appreciate his loop formation and style of production, essentially what I grew up listening to. So, as soon as I peeped, “produced by the Alchemist” on Jay Worthy`s new tape “Fantasy Island”, I thought to myself at least the production will be on point, I gotta hear this. But after my first listen, I admitted I was mistaken. Not only are the beats vibey (made my own word) as heck, but this man Worthy can spit bars like a New York n****a, although he claims to be from Compton. The project begins with “Stepping Out” ft. Sha Hef, and of course the Alchemist mixes a dope sample with some guitar sound while Jay Worthy starts spitting with his usual calm persona. Right from the get the tape engulfs you, and the dopest part is how all the tracks flow into one another like a classic mixtape, which makes this a very easy listen. My personal favorite track has to be the second on the project, “Lost my Lex”, just because of how it makes me actually feel like I’m on a fantasy island with the ocean splashing and birds chirping; then suddenly, the beat drops with Alchemist`s signature beautifully cut sample of Junko Ohashi’s “Rouge Et Noir” followed by Worthy stepping in with so much swag, “But f**k it though, lost my lex, back up in my bunker though”. With features like Big Body Bes, Meyhem Lauren, Rugotti etc. this tape definitely gives you that Action Bronson type of feel, which I happen to love. This style of production is one that has definitely influenced us here at Nerlens Snelren, when we create our art. Although the music industry doesn’t always respect this style of rap, and you probably wont attain much fame taking this route, these artists must understand how much people like us appreciate them. Artists that are not just using the esteemed culture of Hip-Hop for their monetary gain, but shining a light on what made this genre of music, a culture and a movement, continuing to show respect to the roots while introducing their contemporary take on it. I look forward to more projects from Jay Worthy and I recommend this project to anyone who understands hip-hop at a deep level, at the same time I suggest those of you kids who don’t know who Biggie is or where hip hop stems from— ahem ahem; turn off the Yachty for a second, open your ears to this, you might just learn a thing or two.

-Snelren