Madlib & Freddie Gibbs’ Tiny Desk Concert Is An Education On 1 Of 2019’s Best Albums
In the eyes of many fans, one of 2019’s best Hip-Hop albums is Freddie Gibbs & Madlib’s Bandana. Five years after Pinata, the duo reunited with a product that built on the genuinely unique chemistry from two prolific artists. At a time when both men make so much music, fans seem to especially gravitate to what they offer one another, with Gangsta Gibbs’ uncut narratives over-top of sample-based music that’s just as raw and unfiltered. Yasiin Bey, Black Thought, Killer Mike, Pusha-T, and Anderson .Paak provided some of the best features of any album in some time.
Last month, many Heads were disappointed to see that the RCA Records-backed Bandana yielded no 2020 Grammy consideration. This occurred during a time when Gibbs named his ’19 run, The Album Of The Year Tour, ending this week. Not to be phased or faded, the duo pushes on, with a third album in the trilogy, Montana, already confirmed.
Madlib joined Gibbs at Washington, D.C.’s NPR offices. There, they played a Tiny Desk concert. However, for beats reportedly made on an Apple iPad, the El Michels Affair joins the mix to show their deep musicality. With a live band hand-selected by Madlib, these funky compositions become the kind of Jazz that Madlib has been making for over 20 years. He integrates with the musicians, providing percussion. Meanwhile, a shirtless Freddie Gibbs transforms into a Gangsta version of Al Jarreau or Lou Rawls.
“Bandana, album of the year,” begins Gibbs while pianist Marco Benevento tickles the ivories. Over 12 minutes, the set includes performances of “Education,” “Gat Damn” (music video embedded below), “Soul Right,” and “Freestyle S**t.”
At the end of the set, Gibbs embraces his partner and gives him a kiss on the cheek. This year, the Gary, Indiana native revealed to Ebro In The Morning how this deeply personal this album is, following false allegations that nearly cost the rapper his family and career. “There were a lot of things that I didn’t want to see—a lot of things that I still deal with mentally. This album right here, man, this album was a form of therapy. It was therapeutic. I said a lot of things on this record that I maybe, probably wouldn’t have said if I wasn’t facing 10 years in prison. That’s why this album is my baby, because it got me back to my babies.”
El Michels, led by saxophonist Leon Michels, is known for its 2012 Wu-Tang Clan-inspired album, Enter The 37th Chamber. The group recorded the LP after working extensively with members of Wu at concerts. Their music appeared in this year’s Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics And Men docu-series, directed by Sacha Jenkins.
Videos, including interviews with Freddie Gibbs, are available at AFH TV. We are currently offering free 7-day trial subscriptions. Music by Madlib & Freddie Gibbs is presently included on the official Ambrosia For Heads Playlist.
#BonusBeat: Freddie Gibbs & Madlib’s “Gat Damn” music video: