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Album Review: Bandana/Freddie Gibbs & Madlib

What hasn’t been said of Madlib already, one of the greatest sample flippers, beat constructors, and overall producers of all time. His career spans the last three decades, and is heading into the fourth.

Then we have Freddie Gibbs, cocaine connoisseur, hustler, bar for bar one of the best street rappers of this generation. These two should not mesh. Madlib is an older soul, his music being almost all samples it’s classic like records spinning over brandy. Whereas Gibbs is like a night out to the club, drug deals and big beats. For whatever reason whenever these two link up it calls for classic records.

Their new album Bandana, the follow up to the 2014 album Piñata, dropped on June 28th. After an excruciating five year wait, it was worth every second.

The album starts with an intro and an Asian man dropping profanities, what a way to grab my attention. As far as features go, this album has much fewer collabs than their first. But the features they do bring in are phenomenal.

Pusha T and Killer Mike assist on what might be song of the year titled ‘Palmolive’, Yasiin Bey comes out of retirement to drop a stellar verse on ‘Education’, and finally Anderson .Paak on ‘Giannis’. If there is anything this world needs it’s an Anderson .Paak and Madlib album, he flows far too smoothly over the classic sample, dropping cocaine stories and a killer flow.

Drug dealing is the theme of this album, not necessarily from a point of power but more so self-reflection, where has all of this dope slinging brought Gangsta Gibbs? Is it all worth this life he’s living? The verdict seems to be yes.

‘Fake Names’ is the tale where we really feel what brought Freddie here:

“Had a Mexican that came ‘cross the border to Arizona. They was getting shit for seventeen tossin’ shit to me for twenty-eight, bitch go for thirty-one, I barely ate”.

Some of my favorite beats of the year are on this album, ‘Crime Pays’ sounds like Mario party on vinyl, ‘Palmolive’ sounds timeless a week after release, how can you not head nod to ‘freestyle S**t’. Tracks like ‘Cataracts’ are what this album is all about. Freddie flows and changes speeds over the soul sample, going on a crazy double time at one point before the beat suddenly switches up into one of my favorite parts on the album, the duo makes it seem too easy. From there we slip into ‘Gat Damn’ which feels like LA nights in a Cadillac. This album gets better and better with each spin, so far my favorite record of the year.

 

Favorite tracks: Palmolive, Cataracts, Crime Pays

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