After dropping three joint EPs, Freddie Gibbs and Madlib unite once again to release the full length album, Pinata. Madlib, a prolific hip hop producer mostly known for his work with MF Doom(Madvillian), has seen a resurgence in his career since linking with Gibbs in 2011. As for Gibbs, the Gary, Indiana wordsmith has gone through his fair share of trials and tribulations over the past few years. He signed with Jeezy’s CTE label in 2011, which eventually led to a controversial break up only a year later. In 2013 he started his ESGN label and released his well received debut album, also named ESGN.
With Pinata we get a clash of styles, and it turns out to be a beautiful thing. Freddie Gibbs’s strongest skill is his flow. The flow tends to wrap perfectly around the instrumental and he always uses different variations. Madlib has an unusual style of production, he tends to use unorthodox, boom bap based drum patterns and uses samples in very creative ways. These 2 styles play off of each other uniquely and it creates a strong connection between the two. Much credit is given to Freddie Gibbs for having such a great technical skill that allows his flow to adapt to any beat. All over this album, Gibbs uses his flow and clever specs of wordplay to compliment Madlib’s production wonderfully. The chemistry shared between Gibbs and Madlib is reminiscent of the chemistry shared between Prodigy and Alchemist.
Madlib’s production is great on this album, his beats usually tend to stand on their own because of the unique arrangement. He takes a sample and intertwines into a beat in ways that not many producers can. The production is varied which keeps the project entertaining. Gibbs gives a different flow to each beat, making it impossible to get bored while listening. This album flows super smoothly from track to track, providing a smooth ride with no bumps or speed limits.
Gibbs is great when it comes to visualizing his lyrics. He constructs his verses very efficiently by intertwining hard hitting lyrics into his sharp cutting flow. This way of writing keeps the flow from overshadowing the lyrics and vice -versa. He delivers harsh realities such as “Teach your kid at the crib or you children might cop an ounce from me and smoke out in the Chevy with us, cuz in the past my low class black ass’ll serve my own f**kin family members.” On the track “Real” Gibbs disses Jeezy and everything he stands for. The diss was tough, but I think it’s time for Gibbs to put the whole Jeezy and CTE situation in the past.
As a whole this project is incredibly dope, and stands out among hip hop albums released recently. With a large amount of gems, there is little to find wrong with this album. The beats are amazing, the rapping is great and the chemistry is A1. With features spanning from Ab-Soul and Earl Sweatshirt to Scarface and Raekwon, Pinata provides a great level of balance throughout. Turn it on and let it flow.
Replay Value: 9/10
Standout tracks: “Sh*tsville”, “Broken”, “Harold’s”, “Uno”