It feels like we’ve been waiting on “Baby Face Killa” since 2010. Maybe not in the form we got, but Freddie Gibbs has been throwing around the title for so long it felt like a dream when it became increasingly more clear it was finally happening. While it’s conception may have been years ago, the long birth (some of the tracks on here have been floating around for almost a year) may have helped it in the long run. This is the most cohesive Gibbs release that can’t be called an EP. Gibbs’ signing to Young Jeezy’s CTE World turned out to be a beautiful thing and the Jeezy/”Thug Motivation” influence throughout is palpable: from the “bout it bout it”, fuck-the-haters style intro to the more general hustler anthems like “Breaking Bad” and “Stay Down” that call back to Jeezy classics like “Don’t Get Caught.” Obviously theres a smoother slant to the overall sound of the album since Gibbs is a midwest boy.
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What’s surprising is the amount of range Gibbs exhibits throughout the record. From the very Drake-esque “Money, Clothes, Hoes” where he’s not quite rapping and not quite singing throughout the whole track. On first listen this will be the track that grabs you the most, as Gibbs has always been a bit of a rapper’s rapper. It’s a smooth players only type track that we doubt anyone thought Gibbs had in him. Another major highlight is the Z-Ro assisted “Boxframe Cadillac.” Like your favorite yet unexpected team ups in wrestling, this is the most excellent Z-Ro feature we’ve heard in a while. Gibbs has flirted with Texas before but it’s never been this well-executed (Rock Bottom comes to mind) or so fully realized. “Kush Cloud” with Krazyie Bone and SpaceGhostPurrp being another peak on the album, a track we also wrote about in a recent Sunday’s Best. Jeezy makes a couple appearance throughout a couple of times but the only one worth noting is the nostalgia fueled “Seventeen”, where he performs hook duty along with delivering a verse.
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If there’s anything bad to say about the album it’s that it’s very much a front loaded record. The first five or so tracks are almost flawless and by time you reach the end of the album You’ve probably been tempted to restart at least a couple times. The worst miss being the for the ladies joint “Middle of The Night.” It hurts because following up “Boxframe Cadillac” with it disrupts the flow of the album along with making it look that much weaker. This a fairly minor gripe though, as the tape is strong as hell and highly recommended.
Download the free tagged version on DatPiff. Buy the NODJ version (w/ bonus tracks) on Itunes.