Standard gatefold edition of the double LP on ESGN/Empire. Pre-order for July 19 ship date.
Shadow of a Doubt is the album Gibbs following Piñata, his collaboration with Madlib. He describes Shadow of a Doubt as the soundtrack to driving around Los Angeles at night – the dark side of a supposed glamorous life, one foot in the booth, one foot in the street. Pitchfork writes “his roots and aspirations have never been clearer” and praised Gibbs’ versatility. This album taps some of today’s top talent as guest MC’s and as producers with features from E-40, Gucci Mane, Black Thought, Tory Lanez, Manman Savage and Dana Williams, with production from Kaytranda, Boi-1Da, 808 Mafia.
In May 2016, a white label edition of Shadow of a Doubt (Rappcats exclusive) sold out in three hours. These were limited to 300 hand-numbered copies, with photo by Ture Lillegraven, jacket design by Jeff Jank.
You may have heard something about Freddie Gibbs & Madlib’s Bandana. While the reports of its imminent release maybeexaggerated, it is true that Gangster Gibbs & Beat Konducta have begun talking about, and maybe even working on, a followup to Piñata. Bandana was first referenced by Madlib in his talk at Red Bull Music Academy in New York, May 2016. Expect more news about the record some time later in 2016, or 2020, or somewhere in between.
Rappcats exclusive: 12-inch single, now shipping. “Cocaine Parties In L.A.” b/w “Cocaine Parties In L.A. (Instrumental)”
“Cocaine Parties In L.A.” is produced by Madlib with lyrics/vocals by Freddie Gibbs. All sleeves are screen-printed by hand, one-of-a-kind – 10 variations in all, but each slightly different. Illustration by Gustavo Eandi, design by Jeff Jank, screened by Hit N Run.
Following up Freddie Gibbs & Madlib’s Pinata – this EP contains exclusive tracks not available on the album. “Knicks,” in remixed form, now features a new verse by Gibbs alongside Action Bronson, Joey Bada$$ and Ransom. The b-side, “Home,” features BJ The Chicago Kid – the velvet voiced vocalist from the duo’s earlier “Shame” – and Madlib’s two-part soul-flip carries Gibb’s narrative about a traveling man’s disregard for his woman at home. Both sides are completed by previously unheard Madlib instrumentals.
Look for another Pinata Alert in LA & NYC when we have vinyl.
A1. Knicks Remix feat. Action Bronson, Joey Bada$$, Ransom
A2. Knicks Remix (Instrumental)
A3. The Dunk (Bonus Beat)
B1. Home ft. BJ The Chicago Kid
B2. Home (Instrumental)
B3. The Garden (Bonus Beat)
Freddie photo by Peter Beste, group photo by Lord Such.
Freddie Gibbs is the product of violent, drug-laden streets, but unlike most rappers with similar resumes, he brings the block to the booth without inhibition or an exaggerated rap persona. Pinata, a 17-track collaboration with producer Madlib, is the best distillation yet of his transparent approach to making music, combining stark honesty with electrifying talent as a lyricist and performer.
Pinata is “a gangster Blaxploitation film on wax,” Gibbs says, and the full-length result of a process that began in 2009. It’s an album with a sound that couldn’t be any further from the radio, where, according to the Gibbs, every rapper is Superman, or the dope dealer of the century, who has grinded to the top, never made a mistake and has no chinks in his armor.
“I will show you my flaws, I’ll show you what I’ve done wrong and what I’ve fucked up at,” says the native of Gary, Indiana, the former steel town best known for producing Michael Jackson. “I don’t regret shit, but I’ll show you the things I’m not proud of.”
Gibbs is joined on Pinata by Mac Miller, Earl Sweatshirt, Raekwon, Scarface, Domo Genesis, Ab-Soul and a host of others in setting his soliloquies of the streets alongside film snippets and dusted funk, soul and prog musical tapestries. While this is the latest in a series of single-artist collaborations for Madlib, after Jaylib (J Dilla), Madvillainy (MF Doom) and the street-centric O.J. Simpson with Detroit’s Guilty Simpson, the pairing is unique as it is the first time for Gibbs working with just one producer.
There’s also Madlib’s own self-awareness of his style as a producer. “My stuff, it ain’t fully quantized…it has more of a human feel, so it might slow down or speed up,” he says. “So you have to be the type of rapper, like Doom or Freddie, who can catch that, or else you’ll be sounding crazy.”
Gibbs admits it was a challenge rapping over beats with chops and changes as unpredictable as the man who created them, but says–with conviction and supreme confidence–“I think I did it to perfection.”
The perfection is apparent on the album, where Gibbs shifts from textbook lessons in robbing and drugging on tracks like “Scarface” and “Knicks,” to perhaps the album’s most personal song, “Broken,” a collaboration with Scarface, who, along with Tupac, DMX and 50 Cent, make up the rapper’s own Mount Rushmore of MCs (“You’re getting a hurricane of all those motherfuckers hitting you at once when you listen to Freddie Gibbs,” he says). “Deeper,” a Gibbs favorite and the third single from the album after “Thuggin’” (2012) and “Shame,” (2013) is an ode to hip-hop in the mold of Common’s “I Used to Love H.E.R.”; “High,” featuring Danny Brown, is self-explanatory and just what you would expect from Gibbs, Madlib and one of Detroit’s finest; while on “Real,” Gibbs addresses an old score just as Michael Corleone settled all family business on baptism day.
It’s tracks like “Real” that makes fans believe Gibbs’ claim that “I’m about to show niggas how to rap again.” And he’s just as loyal. “As long as I keep satisfying them,” he says, “everybody else is going to fall in line.
As a producer, Madlib, quite simply, is music, and ten years into his career–a time when other artists become comfortable–Gibbs remains restless, focused, with an eye on the competition and their position relative to his ascent. This is because mentally, he’s still on the corner hustling, which would be the downfall of the average rapper. Gibbs, however, isn’t average.
“When it comes to the nuts and bolts, the nitty gritty of this shit, flat-out spitting verse for verse,” he says. “Niggas ain’t on my level.” –Ronnie Reese, January 2014