Freddie Gibbs’ is finally getting the attention he deserves. His self released mixtapes from 2004-2012 garnered praise and (simplistic) comparisons to Tupac. Two years later, he released ‘Pinata’ with producer Madlib. They famously created the revelatory album through email; Madlib sending Gibbs one of his signature glitchy, divergent beats, and Gibbs constructing a verse to go along.
Later in 2014 Madlib released the instrumentals for ‘Pinata’ as a separate album. The album showcases Madlibs intricate menage of percussion, instrumentation, sampling, and movements, easily standing alone as a rewarding listen. Only a few songs leave you feeling like a vocal verse is even necessary to fill it out.
The two released ‘Bandana’ this June. Aggregate music reviewer Metacritic came up with a generalized score of 87/100. Much of the praise for Gibbs, widely now considered one of the best practicing rappers, focused on his ability to adapt to Madlib’s products. Writing for Consequence of Sound, Christopher Thiessen said “From beginning to end, Bandana is a perfectly-paced album. Madlib never lingers on a single musical idea as he chops samples and switches beats, often midway through songs. Meanwhile, Gibbs, an expert in flows and rhythms, glues each song together with his undaunted, straightforward performances, which offer an illusion of effortlessness.”
All this goes to say the ‘Bandana’ instrumental album, announced two weeks ago by Madlib manager Egon Alapatt, is highly anticipated. Record Store Day recently (and somewhat resignedly) announced a Black Friday installment of their annual international release party, saying “whether we like it or not, the day after Thanksgiving is the start of the biggest shopping season.“ Given RSD’s history of releasing Madlib’s music, November 29 seems like a reasonable guess for the album’s physical drop.
In the meantime, or if you opt to wait for a digital release, dig out either version of ’Pinata’ and give it another listen. Or see them live. The two are touring Europe and the United States this fall, Gibbs along with Benny the Butcher and other friendly faces.