Freddie Gibbs & Madlib Put On The Bandana To Take Hip-Hop Back
Five years ago, Freddie Gibbs & Madlib teamed for Pinata. The release was several years in the making for the two prolific creatives. The pair had released “Thuggin'” in 2011, and whet the appetites of fans for what would become a benchmark in both artist’s discographies. Throughout the last 25 years, Madlib has proven time and time again that he can seemingly mesh his sounds with anyone, but it’s more about who he enjoys making blunted Funk with. As for Gibbs, the Madlib Invazion release was a career triumph. Sneaking into the Top 40 on the pop charts, the critically-acclaimed, commercially-successful album was a hearty laugh in the face to fruitless tenures at Interscope Records as well as Jeezy’s CTE/Def Jam situation, which he addressed on “Real.” The Pinata popped, and 17 audio treats fell out for the fans, and plenty of supplemental goodies found on B-sides, deluxe editions, and elsewhere.
Just ahead of the fifth anniversary of that LP, Heads are finally hearing something from the Bandana sessions, the long-touted follow-up release. “Flat Tummy Tea” arrives today, and shows why this tandem has been dearly missed. On two different Madlib beats, Gangsta Gibbs sticks to his repertoire of stackin’ chips, bossin’ up, and no-strings-attached love. He delivers hard-nosed bars and compound rhymes that pull no punches. Freddie Gibbs has built a career out of being direct. Madlib provides a dusty guitar-and-drum loop that matches Freddie’s fervor. In his lyrics, Gibbs recalls his mid-2000s transition from a rapper with label woes and indictments lingering in the streets. He decided the only way to achieve his dreams and keep it legal was to go all-in on Rap, which he did.
At the halfway point, Madlib switches up the beat to a drum track, adding some lighter accents that creep in. Meanwhile, Freddie looks at systematic pitfalls, and the misrepresentation of Black icons, Jesus Christ and Malcolm X. “Congress c*ck-blockin’ ni**as from comin’ home to they family / If you lucky, when he get out of office, you got a pardon / Or a time-cut, soft or hard, you f*cked up regardless / I made my mind up / Incarceration ain’t my destination, I would wind up / Addicted to medication, just poured another line up / Overdose with a Styrofoam cup is how they gon’ find us,” before spitting “If we don’t take it, we don’t deserve it back / In 6,000 years they ran up, the kings of the earth is back / Supreme mathematics, I’m on the right course / Took the sword and knocked white Jesus off that white horse.” Gibbs repeats himself, before charging, “F*ck Spike, he loves to show Malcolm on coke and white horse / He did the sh*t so we can fronted on from them white boys / White girl, cocaine magic, and white whores / I was in Joliet servin’ heroin to them white boys / Top 5 rapper alive, and that’s on Vice Lords.”
Notably, this single arrives via Keep Cool/RCA Records, a label co-founded by veteran A&R/executive Tunji Balogun, who Heads may also know from his music career, including work with Cunninlynguists.