Hailed as one of the best albums of 2020 when it dropped by surprise a few months back, physical editions of Alfredo by rapper Freddie Gibbs and producer The Alchemist now arrive. A clipped and economical collaboration between two seasoned veterans of the hip-hop game, it’s an essential listen.
CD £10.99 ESGN0006
CD on ESGN/Empire.
Vinyl LP £17.41 ESGN0007
LP on ESGN/Empire.
- Includes download code
Freddie Gibbs and Madlib have been so successful in their recent collaborations that ‘Alfredo’, Gibbs’ album with the Alchemist feels wrong somehow. Like I’m encouraging adultery. Which is ridiculous, but that’s what ‘Alfredo’ was fighting against when I first put it on.
But somewhere between the opening sample, and that rich guitar lick that opens ‘1985’ my heart caught up with my head. Gibbs is a great rapper, he can rap over what he wants. And what he wants to rap over are the Alchemist’s dreamy, jazzy creations. Opener ‘1985’, is a slow and smooth anthem, giving Gibbs the space to rap double time, showing off his blistering precision. Guitars are all over ‘Alfredo’, ‘Skinny Suge’ is essentially a duet between Gibbs and a very smooth jazz guitarist, and the Tyler, The Creator featuring ‘Something to Rap About’ is all woozy broken and slow broken chords.
Across the album Gibbs is often sad but defiant. On ‘Scottie Beam’ he sings that “my execution might be televised”, but all the same won’t let a police officer give him a hard time. On ‘Baby $hit’ he has diamonds and a Porsche and “pocket full of dead slave masters”. But that’s not to say he’s gone soft. He raps “nobody ever gave me shit, I had to take this shit”, and if you say any different then you’re “soft as baby shit”. I probably am to be fair.
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