Gary, Indiana’s Freddie Gibbs is really the last traditional gangsta rapper left. Gibbs cut from the same cloth of N.W.A., The Geto Boys, 8Ball & MJG and UGK. This is not that watered down “I’m the plug-designer belt w/ skinny jeans-Draco toting-colorful dread-pill poppin-borderline feminine” shit. It sounds just as authentic as the music of the gangsta rap of the late 80s to mid-late 90s. Coming off of his last stellar project, 2015’s “Shadow Of A Doubt”, Gibbs found himself in a potentially career-ending situation when he was accused of drugging and raping a woman and arrested while on tour in France, and extradited to Austria. Long story short, Freddie Kane was found not guilty and wrote a EP about it, titled “You Only Live 2wice”.
Have y’all NOT heard Freddie Gibbs’ 20 Karat Jesus?
The week Kendrick Lamar dropped his single “Humble” and the whole internet went crazy over it, I was scratching my head thinking “Have y’all NOT heard Freddie Gibbs’ “20 Karat Jesus”?”. Out the gate (pun intended) Gibbs comes out on fire. “20 Karat Jesus” is a beautifully blasphemous track (matching the cover art). But being a Gibbs fan from “Cold Day In Hell” all the way up until now, I noticed that that’s Gangsta Gibbs’ role: the bad guy you wanna see win. He follows up spitting more dope cautionary tales on the second track, “Alexy’s”, where he rhymes: “Get successful and watch how you immediately become their competition/ niggas worse than a side bitch that can’t quite stay in her position/ don’t know what niggas crave more: money or the attention/ and these the niggas I’m cool with, my enemies I have yet to mention”. The single, “Crushed Glass”, opens with the lines: “The future started yesterday, nigga/ every minute feeling different now, I’m not the same nigga”. The Baby Face Killa goes onto chronicle his previously mentioned stint of jail time abroad when he spits: “I just beat a rape case, groupie bitch I never fucked/ tried to get me 10 for some pussy that I never touched/ At a certain level system try to test a nigga nuts/ Had to hire like 11 lawyers, had to level up”. I loved this joint from the moment I first heard it (shout out to the producer that flipped the hell outta the same sample from Mobb Deep’s “Where Ya Heart At”. Gibbs even gives a slight nod to that in his verse).
Consistency & ever present progression
The next track, “Dear Maria”, is dope. My least favorite here, but I never skip it (for whatever that’s worth). “Amnesia” is something I’ll probably be bumpin’ all summer, and I like the change of pace it gives the ep. “Andrea” & “Phone Lit” are my favorite songs on the project some days (lol). The finale, “Homesick”, is a piano-driven moment of clarity about his time incarcerated in Austria, and a perfect way to end this EP. I’m from Indiana, but there’s honestly no bias. Gibbs’ music is just dope. His hardcore subject matter mixed with his rapid fire flow and melodies is almost like some 2017 Death Row vibe. Plus the consistency & ever present progression from “Cold Day In Hell” to “Baby Face Killa” to “Pinata” with underground west coast beat legend Madlib, to the “Pronto EP” and “Shadow Of A Doubt”, Freddie Soprano may have delivered his “Illmatic” with “You Only Live 2wice”.
2 more fire songs would’ve got it a perfect 5.
Will McKinney has been a Hip Hop fanatic since childhood. He’s notorious for destroying freestyle cyphers and crashing mixtapes throughout central Indiana. You can reach out to him on Facebook.