Gibbs’ Gamble

Design by Jack Reed

Following the success of his 2020 project Alfredo, fans were eager to see what else was in store for Freddie Gibbs. After nearly two decades in the industry, Gibbs’ discography spans five studio albums, four collaborative albums, and more features and singles than one can count. He has spent years carving out his niche in the rap scene as  a street lyricist with sharp flows and wild versatility. Gibbs is incomparable to his peers, and his most recent release, $oul $old $eperately, showcases his flair as an artist better than any project to date.

$$$ is a gamble both literally and figuratively. The album evokes a post-apocalyptic Vegas casino, placing the audience as guests at an overindulgent and ominous hotel. Gibbs mentions this “resort” in numerous outros, posing as a fictitious front-desk clerk and saying, “Welcome to the Triple-S Hotel Resort and Casino, where your pleasure is our priority.” He also samples elevator music on many of the beats like “Lobster Omelette” and “Zipper Bagz.” Gibbs’ attention to detail adds essential layers to this world and spotlights the care with which he approaches his music.

Production is where Gibbs’ gamble can most clearly be appreciated. In his previous projects, he worked with producers The Alchemist or Madlib to put out a unique sound. They both still produce songs in $$$––Alchemist’s distinctive beats are featured in  “Blackest in the Room” and Madlib’s in  “CIA.” That being said, the majority of $$$ is an open call for experimentation, including tracks produced by KAYTRANADA, James Blake, and DJ Paul. Their collaboration gives Gibbs a new platform to allow his familiar flows to shine.

Much of Gibbs’ power as a rapper lies in his honesty. He is known as a no-bullshit artist, and this project is no exception. $$$ explores Gibbs’ meditations on blending quotidian life with stardom. The album’s seventh track, “Space Rabbit,” includes a phone-call outro where Jeff Ross proclaims “Freddie, why do you love rabbits so much? Is it ’cause you’re always hoppin’ out of your child support? What are you doin’ up there, selling crack to Michael Jackson’s uncles again?” The outro highlights Gibbs’ struggle to balance family and his drug dealer past. The outro continues: “Come on, man, I know you’re up there just snitchin’ on people,” a reference to the diss Gunna made at Gibbs on his song “Poochie Gown.” Arguably the most vulnerable of the tracks on $$$ is “Grandma’s Stove (feat. Musiq Soulchild)”, where Gibbs raps about  his father’s fight with cancer and his own struggles with substances while working in entertainment. Freddie Gibbs’ longevity as an artist stems from his honesty, which is littered throughout his lyrics.

Listening to the album, one thing is clear: Freddie Gibbs is reaping the reward of devoting years to establishing his identity on the rap scene. The Big Boss Rabbit is operating in a league of his own—allowing catchy R&B beats to take him along for the ride.

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