Tupac Shakur blurred the lines between gangster rap and socially conscious rap, revealing the true struggles of a gangster.
Freddie Gibbs’ new EP “Pronto” is the fresh breath of crack-laced air that represents this blurring.
Gibbs released the EP last Monday, March 9. The EP only has three songs: “Pronto,” “White Range” and “Diamonds.”
The album art displays a shirtless Gibbs, reminiscent of a similar half-shadowed picture of Shakur. While Gibbs has the style of gangster rap, he also uses Shakur’s more conscious subject matter to focus on serious social issues.
Gibbs, who is from, one of the murder capitals of the country, Gary, Indiana, opens “Pronto” by declaring that “thug life never die nigga, so bury me a motherfuckin’ G and put my chopper by my side.”
With this one line he validates his ability to speak on matters of the street, while refusing to leave his roots behind him and not even in death. Other rappers use the image of a gangster to help sell their albums or, worse, “sell out” to creating music that is popular in order to sell records, Gibbs doesn’t.
Gibbs refuses to “sell out,” holding Shakur’s original message of thug-life true by using the EP to spit in the face of rappers posing as thugs in order to sell records.
“I was born with no windows and a pot to piss in and that’s why a rappin’ ass nigga can’t tell me shit about grindin,” Gibbs raps in the song “Diamonds.”
He remembers “them nights when a nigga couldn’t eat that much,” and even now that he is a millionaire rap star he still can’t forget. He admits to hustling and selling drugs to make a living – but he doesn’t stop there.
Gibbs steadily jumps between gangster and socially conscious rap, unmasking the real side of a gangster breaking down under the pressure.
“Y’all said I’m too cool, but I’m broken up undercover, hide my feeling through my drug habits and I base my raps off my interactions with drug addicts and drug dealers,” Gibbs admits in “White Range.”
If Shakur is the angel on the shoulder then Gibbs is the devil with a gun pointed to your face. “Facedown on the floor, mane, if we got beef up in the street then I’mma bring it to your door, mane,” Gibbs warns in “Pronto.
While the EP may seem like just another gangster rap record, Gibbs is doing what he does best, building his American dream from bricks of cocaine, so be sure to check out “Pronto.”