Updated: Aug 28, 2020
Freddie Gibbs, Indiana rapper, one of the most consistent rappers of the last decade is back to bless us during these hard times with his new album 'Alfredo' - produced entirely by the luxurious The Alchemist. I knew this was going to be good going into it - and it really didn't disappoint. It may not be 'Bandana' or 'Piñata' level - but it's still a contender for album of the year so far.
This album is produced entirely by The Alchemist - so as you can expect it is amazing. It's relaxed, slow and laid back for the most part - with some occasional aggressive beats (such as on 'Frank Lucas' which has an eerie baseline and menacing atmosphere) as well as some more upbeat instrumentals (such as 'Babies & Fools', which includes a beautiful sample, light drums and a guitar to create an incredible beat). The elements of the production mainly include a soul/jazz influence, sampling, guitar strings/baselines as well as slow drums. The beat on 'God Is Perfect' is a personal highlight of mine, with the whole retro vibe accompanied by slow drums, a guitar and a laid back piano giving it such a calming atmosphere, clashing with Freddie's quick flows and classic coke rap bars as he talks on gang life and activities. What makes this song stick out so much for me is that the hook is just so entertaining - which may be the only thing Freddie lacks on this album, but here, the hook is fantastic and catchy. Another great beat to mention from The Alchemist on this album comes from the track 'Baby $hit', where we're given a deep baseline, slow drum pattern and relaxed beat with a slight hint of aggression - clashing with Freddie's flow and cadence perfectly. Lyrically, it's one of the more simpler tracks on the album as he flexes his wealth and the girls he gets - but the punch to his delivery makes even the most simplest of lines sound so much better.
Freddie's lyricism isn't exactly outstanding - it's good don't get me wrong, but the lyrics he spits just pack such a punch to them because of his mean delivery. It's not exactly wordplay or punchline rap - but there are some great bars all throughout, such as on 'Scottie Beam', "Sometimes it be your own damn homies, Judas set Jesus up". Lyrically what you can expect from this project is some hard hitting coke bars as well as a lot of basketball references. He is also very honest about his past works, with some introspective ways of looking at his drug dealing past like on 'Something to Rap About', "When I touched that crack, I let them crackers take control of me", or on 'Skinny Suge' when he opens up about the death of his unclue, "Man, my uncle died off a overdose // And the fucked up part about that is I know I supplied the n**** that sold it". He does seem to have the perfect voice for rapping which is a bonus, and the biggest attraction in regards to his technical skill has to be his flow. He rides the beat so well, like butter melting over the production - even when he goes quick at times (like on 'God Is Perfect'), it still sounds so smooth.
Every single feature on this project turns up and performs. There are four rappers featured on this, every single one has a smooth flow and similar cadence to Freddie - bringing really good contributions. Rick Ross, the first feature, on 'Scottie Beam' provides some witty one liners and decent punchlines over this relaxed beat consisting of a twinkling piano and a base guitar. Freddie's wordplay and one liners himself were very good on this track as the pair speak on attacking their opps, sex and racial profiling. While the song was good, I felt it wasn't as interesting or as captivating as the songs that had come before it or even after it, because the beat just didn't grip me as much it was much more toned down (still great however). BENNY THE BUTCHER's feature on 'Frank Lucas' was also great with his hard delivery, smooth flow and great bars/wordplay, "Sold lines to abusers, now abuse y'all with lines" - meaning he sold cocaine to drug abusers, now abuses other rappers with his rhymes. Freddie as well provides bars on this song as they talk on the success garnered from their drug dealing past. It's a meaner track, but still has a smooth sound to it.
Up next, a man who needs no introduction, is Tyler, The Creator who provides a great guest verse on the track 'Something to Rap About', with a smooth flow as he reflects on his success with some decent metaphors and punchlines, "I used to be a goblin under them bridges, now I'm a businessman" (a reference to the album 'Goblin' of his, and how during them times he used to act edgy, and offensive). The beat for this track involves nice, relaxed, guitar strings and deep baseline but gets more upbeat during Tyler's verse to show the lighter concept compared to Freddie's verse which speaks on his arrest and past life of drugs and crime. The final feature of the project is another Griselda member in Conway the Machine on 'Babies & Fools', who as per usual has a great flow, great bars and spits some honesty in his verse, "Hospital bed, bullet in my neck and a fractured jaw // Call it crazy, but I always knew I'd bounce back this hard". The track is about the rappers come up, their success and their family and both rappers turn up on this great song.
Content wise it's what you expect from Freddie Gibbs - gangsta rap topics - cooking drugs, his come up and success. He talks on gang life, attacking his opps and sex too to be more precise, which can be found on nearly all tracks like 'Frank Lucas' and 'Look at Me', where the idea of the song is look at me - I'm now successful, despite my drug dealing past. This song is a pretty short but sweet track, over this sampled instrumental with a relaxing base guitar. He also looks a bit more at the depression that his past life has caused on 'Skinny Suge', with introspective yet honest bars (see the previous reference to his uncles death). The beat for this song involves a loud guitar, slow drum pattern and as usual is pretty relaxing - and while I still love the beat it just doesn't create as much as an atmosphere for the track as other beats do, as the other beats tend to paint an image before you before Freddie even says anything.
The album begins with the only single off the project, '1985', released just a few hours before the whole album dropped. This a more aggressive track on the album, with aggressive bars but nothing lyrically special bar maybe a few cool references, "Joe Pesci, push your product // You n***** is sweeter than Joe Exotic". The electric guitar and sample make a pretty good beat, it's a nice start to the album but nothing crazy. 'Look at Me' has a nice sampled, relaxed beat with a base guitar as he reflects on his success. Again, this is pretty standard lyrically for a coke rap song, but it's short, sweet and easily replayable. The finale to the album, 'All Glass', is good, not as good as the highest highs but again it's good. The abstract, retro feel to the aggressive beat is nice as Freddie gives us a decent bit of wordplay on this song, "Bitch, I'm in this shit, like Burberry shirts at baby showers // Shot these kids on her face, give yo' wifey a baby shower", (the second baby shower meaning to ejaculate on the girls face), as he talks on sex and shooting people. It's not as smooth as the other tracks in terms of production and for Freddie himself – still a good song though, that just shows how good this album is.
To conclude, this new Freddie Gibbs & The Alchemist project is very good. The pair work well together, Freddie raps great, The Alchemist's production is great - it's relatively short, smooth sounding and can get you in a relaxed mood. I don't think individually I'll return to many tracks, but as a whole album I will be returning to it for the near future a lot. Even my least favourite tracks on this album are good - and that's always a good sign.
FAVOURITE TRACKS: God Is Perfect, Scottie Beam, Something to Rap About, Babies & Fools
LEAST FAVOURITE TRACK: All Glass
OVERALL RATING: Solid 8.5/10
*REVISED SCORE: Review may not match favourite tracks and overall rating because I've since re-listened and changed my score.*