I wrote about this at my other online emporium, but the union of Freddie Gibbs and Madlib warrants repeat posting. Getting these two together was no idle whim, this was the product of months of clandestine meetings and secrets kept. Granted, Madlib could be a CIA agent if not for his quarter ounce a day weed habit. But LA is a smaller city than you’d think, and Gibbs had been dropping hints about the record for months. Now it’s evident, Otis Jackson Jr. was the secret producer he’d repeatedly invoked. The secrecy was smart. Not only is this a welcome surprise, it comes with no preset expectations. It merely has to be great. And it is.
First single “Thuggin” has been on repeat for hours. For those of us who wanted Madlib beats wrecked by someone better than M.E.D. or Guilty Simpson, this is the antidote. For those of us who wanted a Madvillain 2, this is an advance. Don’t be surprised if there are more records in the pipeline. A full length is coming in the spring. “Thuggin” might be Gibbs’ “Exhibit C,” part mission statement, part Sativa-creased anthem. Pants sagging till 40. Obtuse bullets at “Shortbus Shawty’s.” The uselessness of critical acclaim compared to cash. Cynical knowledge about the opposite sex. Bone Thugs N Harmony interpolations. Selling crack to family members. World weary fatalism. No hooks. Just cracked stained glass psychedelia and animal thug raps (© Noreaga)
These two together is as weird and righteous as Cube heading east to work with Bomb Squad. The Internet can delude us into believing that nothing today can be as significant. Maybe it can’t. Neither of these two are whatever mainstream is. But it’s clear that they’re two of the best, bearing witness to the strength of street knowledge and a couple acres of grass.