Madlib & Freddie Gibbs form MadGibbs for 'Thuggin' ' EP
Last Friday in San Francisco, Stones Throw soul controller Madlib brought out Freddie Gibbs, the L.A.-based, Gary, Ind.-raised gangsta rapper. The project has been under wraps for at least six months, a carefully kept secret let loose on a windy night in the Bay Area.
The suprise appearance came with the announcement of the "Thuggin' " EP, suddenly scheduled for release today on Stones Throw. The pair immediately sold out all 500 copies at the show. Aftward, the tenor of excitement in the blogosphere spoke to the dedicated cults of Gibbs and the Oxnard-born Otis Jackson Jr.
Gibbs recently signed to Young Jeezy's CTE imprint, and many questioned why he would align himself with a major label-backed entity. Working with Madlib takes the opposite tack. It's a chance to hear him rap over dusty, hyponotic samples warped by an underground hero. If anything, it's a sign of how few divisions exist in the world of rap in 2011. Six years ago, the thought of a Young Jeezy protege rapping over beats from Quasimoto was unthinkable. Today, it's perfectly reasonable, if not inspired.
For Madlib diehards, it's a chance to hear his beats demolished by one of the best rappers breathing, and easily the best to tackle them since Ghostface Killah on 2007's "Block Rock." In fact, the EP's title track might be the best rap song Madlib's done since his 2004 Madvillain project with MF Doom. Gibbs comes out brawling, "never taking no for an answer," "pants sagging till he's 40/still lyrically sharper than these short-bus shorties." It has no hook and it's just ferociously rapped, clock-cleaning, future boom-bap. The last 16 bars unspool what's quickly becoming Gibbs' trademark: riveting drug tales full of detail, gravity and the somber narrative of the young, desperate and reckless.
Caution: Explicit Language
-- Jeff Weiss
Photo: Madlib & Freddie Gibbs. Credit: Matthew Scott