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Yes, this is the real shit here. Hip hop royalty Madlib's collaboration with wordsmith Freddie Gibbs have teased us with a couple of EPs already which were more tantalising than satisfying. Now, however, there's something meaty to get your teeth into; a massive 17-song double LP which, as a sticker on the front boasts, "feat. all the mother fuckers in the rap game worth fucking with", which includes Danny Brown, Raekwon, Domo Genesis, Earl Sweatshirt, Scarface...you get the idea. I thought it was going to be pretty solid but I wasn't ready for the future hip hop classic we've got on our hands here.
'Lib's beats are on point as usual, full of slick crate-digging funk and soul samples and head-nodding beats and woozy synth work that's particularly effective in 'Bomb' (feat. Raekwon) with a slow-vibing almost DJ Screw-ish groove. The whole album has a warm, laid-back bounce that makes it sound like some lost classic from the '90s. Gibbs's flows are intelligent and fierce but also stoned and expletive-laden, he's got a real energy and intensity to him. I get the sense that collaborating with Madlib has motivated him to bring his A-game 100% of the time and he sounds sharp-eyed and hungry to perform.
This is excellent, basically, and I suspect it's going to be one of the inescapable albums of summer '14 so you might as well get used to it now.
9/10 Uxia Customer review, 3rd April 2014
Ok, first of all, I'm not a big hip hop fan. I started to get into this genre because of all the instrumentals, but dudes talking about drugs, boobs, booze, and weed is not really my thing (I know it's just a cliché that I grow up with). When I was at school, I used to listen to jazz (my first music purchase was with 4 years old, a cassette of a jazz street band from Barcelona that I still keep as my treasure), people thought that because it was not radio pop music, it was weird, so I looked for something less "grown up"(that's what they called Dizzy Gillespie at school), I discovered hip hop. I like the free-style-all-allowed that hip hop has, the beats, the keyboards, ... I like the madness of the sound. In "Piñata" I forget about the lyrics. I don't know what happend with that jazz band from Barcelona, but this "Piñata" has that jazzy soul badass combination that I've been missing for a while. Long live Madlib.
9/10 Drammy Customer review, 3rd April 2014
This is already garnering plaudits as a 'classic' which is a bit silly given that it's only been out for about three weeks. But there's something in it too. The unlikely crossover between thug poet Freddie Gibbs and urbane, genre-splicing Madlib works brilliantly with neither artist really breaking new ground and yet both managing to complement each other. Given the diversity of their two styles it's something to behold, and Gibbs in particular seems to have risen to the challenge - but then maybe his intelligence has always yearned for a partner as smart as Madlib. If you've been anticipating this as keenly as I have been then don't worry, it won't disappoint you. Only time will tell if it really is a classic but it's definitely a class apart from much of what's getting pushed out in both mainstream and underground hip-hop.
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