Rap artist’s new album fuses many music styles

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Gangsta rappers are known for being cocky, but to showboat your versatility through the first half of your new album is something else.

Freddie Gibbs’s album exemplifies that there cannot be a “Shadow of a Doubt” that Gibbs is one of rap’s elite. He does this by mixing his Gary, Indiana style of rap with other rappers’ styles to execute them better than they can.

Gibbs starts his boasting by mixing his usual gangster rap style with a poppy, almost TLC like, singing in “Careless,” which may have slipped into the “song of the year to cruise to” running just before December.

“Fuckin’ Up the Count,” the single from the album, continues his drug dealer narrative and features soundbites from “The Wire,” an HBO crime series about drug dealing in Baltimore, Maryland.

We’ve heard Gibbs use sound bites before, but this track has a darker tone and features a twang to Gibbs’s voice imitating Meech from Flatbush Zombies.

On “McDuck,” Snoop Dogg validates Gibbs’ versatility by saying that he “sound like [he] not from nowhere,” which is a big compliment in the age of ghost writing and style biting. It might also explain how he’s able to execute the variety of styles that he has.

Gibbs slaughters rapper Young Thug in his own bass-heavy slurred style on “Packages,” except the lyrics aren’t horrible and you can actually understand him. ManMan Savage complements the trap track with a promethazine slurred voice cut with Gucci and a dash of Chief Keef.

“Basketball Wives” is a fully autotuned attempt by Gibbs at an R&B song that feels forced. Though the the lyrics are more Freddie Gibbs than Chris Brown, which pulls it off.

Tory Lanez delivers a Future-style chorus on “Mexico,” that already feels exhausted by mainstream hip hop.

Gibbs proved that there is nothing mainstream about him by beat riding the track with lyrics like “Gangsta D, I run a mob like I’m Tony, I sell that codeine, Just gave all my youngsters Glock-9s and 40s.”

The piano opening to “Forever and Day” ends Gibb’s satirical boasting and sends a more personal message, one that says that he has to be the best rapper in order to not go back to selling drugs.

This message is hit by the first song of the album,“Rearview.” It starts the album by juxtaposing his criminal past with his present-day rap star status, sending a message to other rappers that, for him, rapping is easy compared to selling drugs.

“Narcos” proves his point that the “dope game hard, rap game easier than a motha fucka,” through a reminiscent verse about how “ my momma raised a drug dealer, not a fuck nigga,” and that’s why he’s not scared of one trying to kill him.

Gibbs admits that “nowadays, I never write ‘em [by gangbanging], just recite ‘em [by rapping]” but this song is a peek back into the past of the millionaire rapper that used to sleep in his grandmother’s basement, dreaming of cocaine.

Compared to that life, destroying a few rappers is nothing.