New Video: Freddie Gibbs and Madlib Announce Their Long-Awaited Second Collaborative Album and Release a Cinematic Visual for “Crime Pays”

 

Born Fredrick Jamel Tipton, the Gary, IN-born emcee and JOVM mainstay Freddie Gibbs initially signed with Interscope Records in 2006 and after recording his full-length debut with the label, the Gary, IN-born emcee was dropped as a result of the label’s management changing hands — and the album was subsequently shelved; however, with the release of 2009’s The Miseducation of Freddie Gibbs, a prolific series of mixtapes and his 2013’s full-length debut ESGN (Evil Seeds Grow Naturally), Gibbs quickly established a reputation for being a talented lyricist and narrative-based storyteller with an imitable, gruff flow.

Gibbs’ work largely focuses on street shit and hustling but unlike most of his peers, who take on exaggerated, superhuman personas and describe tales in which their heroes always win, Gibbs pulls the showbiz curtains aside with a frank and unvarnished honesty and realism. His characters inhabit a world much like own, full of gritty, almost Darwinistic struggles in which men and women do evil things to others to get by, fully aware of the fact that they’re paving roads to their own unique, fucked up hell.  And as a result, the Gary, IN-born JOVM mainstay became a go-to collaborator, working with an impressive list of artists and producers including Young Jeezy, Juicy J, Philadelphia Freeway, Dom Kennedy, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, Big K.R.I.T., Cardo, DJ Burn One, Speakerbomb, Block Beattaz, Beatnick and K-Salaam, Chip tha Ripper, The Cool Kids‘ Chuck Inglish and Mikey Rocks, Krayzie Bone, SpaceGhostPurrp, Jadakiss, Kirko Bangz, Jay Rock, Curren$y and others.

Five years ago, Gibbs teamed up with Madlib, arguably one of hip-hop’s dopest, most inventive and prolific producers on the critically and commercially successful Piñata, which landed at #38 on the Billboard 200 and number seven on the US Top Rap Albums Charts. At the time of its release, I compared Piñata to Small Professor’s and Guilty Simpson’s collaboration Highway Robbery as both albums were the result of a shared artistic vision that channelled golden era hip hop.

In 2016 Madlib announced that he would be working with Madlib on their second album together Bandana, and that many of the rejected beats he auditioned for Kanye West‘s The Life of Pablo would appear on the new album. Gibbs and his manager later confirmed that on Twitter. During that same period, the Gary, IN-born JOVM mainstay was busy with the release of his third solo album, 2017’s You Only Live 2wice and last year’s Fetti, a collaborative album with Curren$y.

Interestingly, three years after its initial announcement, the long-awaited Bandana is slated for a June 28, 2019 release through Keep Cool Records, RCA Records, Madlib Invazion and ESGN. Earlier this year, Gibbs and Madlib released Bandana‘s first single, the album title track “Bandana,” which featured dancehall artist AssassinBandana‘s second and latest single “Crime Pays” is centered around a Roy Ayers-like shimmering, old-school 70s jazz soul sample and Gibbs gruff and imitable baritone dexterously rhyming about the street shit and hustling that he’s well-known for, but underneath that is the bitter recognition that you can roll the dice so many times before hitting snake eyes at some point.

Directed by Nick Walker, and starring Gibbs as himself, Zoe Neal as Farm Girl, John Pistone as Farm Guy 1, Mazen Shehabi as Farm Guy 2 and Benedikt Sebastian, the recently released video for “Crime Pays” is set on a farm in the seemingly fiction Mt. Kane. Gibbs’ character is a farm owner, who owns a massive property with three male helpers, who he cajoles and chides endlessly for being lazy, slow, stupid and so on. In fact, Gibbs’ character is so rich that he owns horses and zebras — but the video slowly reveals that they’re running a drug scheme that involves stashing loads of drugs in hay for delivery and distribution elsewhere. Gangster as fuck, indeed.

 

 

 

 

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Gibbs & Madlib released Pinata on the Madlib Invazion label just about five years ago. This one is coming through Keep Cool/RCA Records & Madlib Invazion/ESGN.

This album was produced & A&R’ed by Madlib, Freddie Gibbs, Ben “Lambo” Lambert & Eothen Alapatt. Additional A&R for ESGN by Rich Gains. Special Thanks to Kyambo “Hip Hop” Joshua. Recorded by Sidney “Speakerbomb” Miller, Rich Gains, Eric Sandoval & Fabian Hummel between June 2016 and April 2018. “Education” Originally Edited & Recorded by J.Rocc. Mixed by Mario Caldato, Jr. at MCJ Sound. Mastered by Dave Cooley for Elysian Masters. Campaign Management by Amit Nerurkar for Faceless. Standard LP – cover illustration by Jeff Jank. Rappcats Edition – cover painting by Paterson, photo by Ross Harris. “Crime Pays” video directed by Nick Walker.

 

 

Over the past 24-26 months or so, the Gary, IN-based emcee Freddie Gibbs has joined a lengthy list of JOVM mainstays as I’ve written quite a bit about him. With the release of his 2009 compilation of previously unreleased material and several mixtape singles, The Miseducation of Freddie Gibbs, several other mixtapes released between 2011 and 2012 and his 2013 debut full-length ESGN (Evil Seeds Grow Naturally) Gibbs quickly received national attention as he has collaborated with an impressive list of artists and producers including Young Jeezy, Juicy J, Philadelphia Freeway, Dom Kennedy, J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, Big K.R.I.T., Cardo, DJ Burn One, Speakerbomb, Block Beattaz, Beatnick and K-Salaam, Chip tha Ripper, The Cool Kids‘ Chuck Inglish and Mikey Rocks, Krayzie Bone, SpaceGhostPurrp, Jadakiss, Kirko Bangz, Jay Rock, Curren$y and others. And during that time, Gibbs also established a reputation as one of hip-hop’s sadly unheralded and most talented lyricists and emcees. Gibbs’ work concerns itself with street life and unlike a great deal of contemporary mainstream emcees, who take on exaggerated superhuman personas and describe tales in which their heroes always win and nothing ever goes wrong, Gibbs’ incredibly narrative lyrics pull back the showbiz curtains to reveal that most gangsta rappers as up to immature and childish bullshit. And he he does so with an unvarnished and frank honesty; in fact, Gibbs’ characters inhabit a very real, fleshed out world of Darwinistic struggle, in which men and women do very evil things to survive — and they quickly discover that in some fashion they’re going to a hell of their own making. Their luck runs out and finally get busted or someone snitches on them. They wind up locked up for some time, and during their time away, their girl cheats on them or leaves them while they’re away. The ghosts of bad decisions, wasted lives and passing time linger and haunt these characters, and in some way you can sense a subtle tinge of regret throughout.

Last year Gibbs teemed up with one of hip-hop’s most inventive and prolific producers Madlib on his sophomore effort PiñataThe effort, which was released through renowned indie label Rappcats Records was a critical and commercial success as it landed at number 38 on the Billboard 200 and number seven on the US Top Rap Albums Charts. Sonically and thematically, Piñata bears an resemblance to Small Professor’s and Guilty Simpson’s impressive collaboration, Highway Robbery in the sense that both albums are the result of a shared artistic vision — and channel golden area hip-hop as both paired soulful and hard-hitting production with supremely talented emcees and storytellers spitting lyrics.

“Shame,” which was part of a trio of singles originally released on 12 inch has Gibbs’ narrator tells some sordid tales about hustling, doing drugs, and hooking up with loose and questionable women, including women who have families and writing music. The song’s narrator is a proud and honest cad — but at some point he meets a girl, who he admits his falls for. Interestingly (and I’m providing a bit of a spoiler here), this woman is presumably the same woman who later betrays him in “Deeper.” Sonically, the song is reminiscent of Only Built 4 Cuban Linx-era Raekwon as it pairs Gibbs’ raspy and husky baritone — by far one of the contemporary hip-hop’s most distinctive vocals — with dusty and atmospheric old school soul samples. It’s a song that balances an intimate, confessional feel with sweepingly cinematic feel.

Unsurprisingly, Rappcats received an enormous amount of requests to make the material off Piñata available for TV shows. As the story goes, the folks the renowned indie hip-hop label recruited producer and DJ Alex Goose to remix Piñata with samples from the Now-Again Records catalog. Goose’s remix of “Shame,” which appears on Goose’s Piñata (Alex Goose Remix), pairs Gibbs’ recognizable raspy baritone with a lush old school production that’s funkier,  jazzier and more percussive  than the original. In some way, it subtly lightens the overall feel of the song while retaining the eerie atmospherics and cinematic feel and spirit of the original. Interestingly, from what I understand the remix appears on the Starz TV series Survivor’s Remorse (which Lebron James is credited as an executive producer, along with Tom Werner and others).

 

 

Gibbs & Madlib released Pinata on the Madlib Invazion label just about five years ago. This one is coming through Keep Cool/RCA Records & Madlib Invazion/ESGN.

This album was produced & A&R’ed by Madlib, Freddie Gibbs, Ben “Lambo” Lambert & Eothen Alapatt. Additional A&R for ESGN by Rich Gains. Special Thanks to Kyambo “Hip Hop” Joshua. Recorded by Sidney “Speakerbomb” Miller, Rich Gains, Eric Sandoval & Fabian Hummel between June 2016 and April 2018. “Education” Originally Edited & Recorded by J.Rocc. Mixed by Mario Caldato, Jr. at MCJ Sound. Mastered by Dave Cooley for Elysian Masters. Campaign Management by Amit Nerurkar for Faceless. Standard LP – cover illustration by Jeff Jank. Rappcats Edition – cover painting by Paterson, photo by Ross Harris. “Crime Pays” video directed by Nick Walker.