Let’s be real, I’m not, nor have I ever pretended to be, a thug. Gangsta rap has never truly been my thing. I do, however, recognize true talent and can appreciate a good story and dope delivery. Freddie Gibbs is a thug, unapologetically. From his tales in the drug game, to gunplay, to just his personal mindset, Freddie is a man that is comfortable with who he is, and could give a shit what anyone else thinks. What separates Freddie from the slew of gangsta rappers out is that Freddie can rap. Not kinda rap, not decent bars here and there rap, Freddie can flow something serious. Freddie has been putting out music for a while now and those that know his name are in for a treat with the Madlib produced Piñata. For the rest of us that are unfamiliar with his abilities, this album will serve as an introduction to world according Gibbs.
What sets Freddie apart from many of his peers is while he is definitely rapping about the drug game and thug life, he isn’t glorifying it at all. He is speaking on it very matter of fact and brutally honest. He even goes so far as to make a few points about his choice in lifestyle that even if you don’t agree with him, you can’t help but understand his point of view. Take the track Real for example. I don’t agree with all of the decisions Gibbs raps about . But after hearing verses like:
Remember everybody ain't loyal
'Cause all the real niggas in jail or deep in the soil
Dancing with the devil or eatin' fish with the Lord
Gotta spit it how I live it, I beat the street and report it, nigga
I can't help but understand where Freddie Gibbs is coming from.
Piñata is a definite feather in the cap for Freddie and an impressive addition for Madlib. Madlib has been making his rounds with the roughest of emcees here as of late, to include Guilty Simpson, Bishop Lamont, and Roc Marciano. Something about Madlib’s perfected sound matches up better than imagined when it comes to emcees like these. I can’t explain it, but I can dig it. Madlib’s sound is to a point now that I can’t tell how much is done by crate digging and how much is him producing over top of the samples, but it all sounds dope. Check the track Bomb feat. Raekwon. Maybe it’s all loops and samples, maybe not. Who cares? Shit is hot.
Speaking of hot, the title track Piñata is the damn embodiment of the term “posse cut”. Featuring spots by: Domo Genesis, G-Wiz, Casey Veggies, Sulaiman, Meechy Darko, and Mac Miller; this track gives everyone their chance to shine clocking in at a little over 8 minutes. I don’t know all these cats, but that beat alone makes the track worth a listen. Couldn't find the track for y'all to peep but please believe, it was definitely a good decision in making this song the title track.
All in all, Piñata is a damn good album. If you have easily offended ears, you might want to go ahead and pass this one up; Freddie Gibbs definitely ain’t pulling any punches. His subject matter is gritty, the delivery is greasy, the production is nasty, and the end product is beautiful. Piñata is easily one of the best albums that will be released this year. Freddie and Madlib have proven that sometimes kicking knowledge means letting people know what happens on the other side of town.