1964 original issue (imaginary) by Jeff Jank
Update: That one went quick | New Yory City, March 20, 2:00PM EST – There is a zebra piñata hanging from a stop sign right around 90 Wythe in Brooklyn. It contains a pass to Freddie Gibb & Madlib’s NYC show on Saturday, candy, and other mysterious objects. First person to get there and beat the thing open gets to keep whatever falls out. Have fun, take a photo, and please clean up after yourself.
The album: Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Pinata
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
Freddie Gibbs photo by Peter Beste
Freddie Gibbs & Madlib’s Pinata album drops March 18. They’re doing a few shows: just played Chicago & Denver, and they hit NYC, San Francisco and L.A. this month. Thanks to Jesse Lirola for the photos! Check out the T-shirt by Mason – we’ll have this here at Rappcats at the end of the month.
Madlib solo dates:
March 15: SXSW @ The North Day (Stones Throw Showcase)
March 21: Boston @ Middle East Downstairs
April 10: Ghent @ Vooruit
April 11: Milan at some festival or somethin’
April 17: Dublin @ Sugar Club
April 19: London – Soundcrash at Koko
Freddie solo dates up at freddiegibbs.com
Update: zebra is toast | Chicago, March 6th, 4:40PM CST – There is a zebra piñata hanging from a monument in Grant Park by Columbia College near the corner of East 9th St & S. Michigan Ave. It contains four tickets to the Freddie Gibbs & Madlib show at Chicago’s Metro on Friday, March 7, and other mysterious objects. First person to get there and beat the piñata open gets the tickets and whatever else falls out. Have fun, take a photo, and please clean up after yourself.
The album: Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Piñata
BADBADNOTGOOD are Mattew Tavares, Chester Hansen and Alex Sowinski from Toronto . We first heard them a few years ago, covering Madvillain & Doom’s “Supervillain Theme”, “Fazers” and “Vomitspit”. They’re signed to Innovative Leisure, and their new album III drops May 6. Here’s “Can’t Leave the Night” premiered this morning over at Fader.
Update with photo: the piñata got beat up at 2:25PM | Los Angeles, March 3rd, 2:10PM PST – There is a zebra piñata hanging from a tree on the west side of Echo Park Lake. It contains an advance copy of Freddie Gibbs & Madlib’s Piñata album, candy, and other mysterious objects. There’s a stick on the ground below the piñata. First person to get there and beat the thing open gets to keep whatever falls out. Have fun, take a photo, and please clean up after yourself.
The album: Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Piñata
Snoop Dogg prod. by Madlib. “Cadillacs” is a track off the mixtape Thats My Work Vol. 3 hosted by DJ Drama, dropping at 4:20PM today, west coast time, February 27.
2014 Update … here’s another.
X-ray vinyl with “Planned Attack” b/w “Talkin’ Shit”
On the crime-infested east side of Lost Gates CA, there is a vinyl pressing plant whose brochure says, “will do anything for a price.” Back in the 70s & 80s, they specialized in private press porno soundtracks, but these days Madlib is their only customer.
Delivering them a couple Quasimoto tracks with a drawing or two, here’s the record they returned: a custom-shaped, half picture disc, half clear disc, with thick vinyl. One side is Quasimoto’s “Planned Attack” from the album Yessir Whatever, and the flip side is the previously unreleased “Talkin’ Shit,” a short track with Lord Quas doing what he does best. Both tracks are produced-by and featuring Madlib. Artwork by Jeff Jank.
Pictured below is the front, family-friendly side of the vinyl. The backside of the record, the “x-ray” portion, show’s Quasimoto disgusting insides.
When J Dilla lived and worked in Los Angeles, he was right around the corner from the Stussy office, and it photograph of him working at home on his MPC wearing a Stussy T-shirt which kicked off this long running collaboration.
Stussy and the Estate of James Yancey have teamed up to present a commemorative J Dilla t-shirt in celebration of “Dilla Day 2014″ on February 7th, presented by Stussy & Rappcats.com. This tee is constructed of 100% soft cotton & made in Mexico. A crew neck t-shirt, which features an image of J Dilla (photo by Roger Erickson) along with Stussy graphics.
MF DOOM’s OPERATION DOOMSDAY, independently produced and released, stripped down hip-hop in all it’s glory, came out on Bobbito’s Fondle ‘Em label in 1999, cementing the MC’s return to the scene after his early years in the group KMD.
As the story and legend goes, he’d been chewed up and spit out of the major label system, lost his brother and musical partner Subroc, he’d disappeared, he’d returned to the stage with a rocking a mask and obscured identity.
In under two years, OPERATION DOOMSDAY was already reissued on another label with an altered track list. During the time we started working with DOOM on the Madvillain record, DOOMSDAY went out of print, got bootlegged, and somewhere along the way emerged as a hip-hop classic.
DOOM’s own imprint Metalface Records finally re-issued the definitive version of the remastered album in 2011 – a CD (in a lunch box) and metal-covered 4LP set was released.
Rappcats is proud to present Metalface’s cassette edition of OPERATION DOOMSDAY, a metal box set containing two cassettes – tape 1, the original album and original cover by Lord Scotch 79 (Blake “KEO” Lethem) on the first tape; tape 2, the instrumentals, b-sides and alternate versions, along with the 2011 album cover by Jason Jagel.
42 tracks total, weighing 2LB, limited to 1200 pieces. Official Metalface Records release.
Video: Lord Scotch 79 (Blake “KEO” Lethem) talks about the creation of the MF DOOM mask at the time of OPERATION DOOMSDAY’s release in the late 1990s.
New Years Eve: Madlib x Thundercat x Miguel Atwood-Ferguson x Gaslamp Killer, photo by Jamie Strong. Happy 2014.
Madlib was invited to dig through the record library at Radio France during his recent trip to Paris. In this video he talks with Laura Leishman about a few of the records, and his own influences.
Chute Libre “Penelope au balcon” (Chute Libre, 1977)
Sun Ra “Door of the cosmos” (Sleeping Beauty, 1979)
Nathan Davis “Theme from Zoltan” (Happy Girl, 1965)
Tha Alkaholiks “Killin’ it” (Likwidation, 1997)
Melvin Van Peebles “Come on feet” (Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song, 1971)
Alain Goraguer “Le bracelet” (La Planète Sauvage OST, 1973)
Embryo “Radio Marrakesch / Orient Express” (Steig’ Aus, 1973)
Jay Dee “Featuring Phat Kat / Shake it down” (Welcome 2 Detroit, 2001)
Binkbeats is a musician, percussionist, and producer who has produced a series of live mixtapes dedicated to the work of various hip-hop producers on his Youtube page BINKBEATSmusic. In his latest, he unravels J Dilla’s tracks Make’em NV, E=MC, Won’t Do, and Fall in Love.
Filmed by Johannes Fabery de Jonge, Dongwei Su, Bas Vermolen. Audio recording and mix by BINKBEATS & Simon Akkermans at the Epic Rainbow Unicorn Studio.
The full 50+ track album Rock Konducta comes out July 15, 2014.
Rock Konducta is the latest in Madlib’s instrumental “Beat Konducta” series, the producer’s raw hip-hop beat tapes brought to life. Previous titles include Movie Scenes and Beat Konducta in India, imaginary film soundtracks; the self-decriptive A Tribute to J Dilla;the Beat Konducta in Africa inspired by the Zambian “Zamrock” music scene of the ’70s.
The latest album finds it’s inspiration in various worldwide underground rock scenes from the 1960s through the 80s: American psychedelia, Germany’s Krautrock, acid-soaked Spanish prog-rock and synthy, early-80s oddities. Tied together by Madlib’s unique sensibility, these music scenes coalesce into a new whole.
Album cover: half high-gloss white, half filthy. Design by Jeff Jank.
Pitchfork: Madlib “Hold the Organ” from Rock Konducta v.1 LP
The New York Times’ Jon Caramanica wrote about Houston Rap for the paper’s Holiday Gift Guide….
‘HOUSTON RAP’ “Houston Rap,” the book, is a handsome collection of photos by Peter Beste and interviews by Lance Scott Walker that capture the city’s hip-hop history in full. But the deluxe bundle edition is where the goodies are — an additional book of interviews, a vinyl pressing of DJ Screw’s album “All Screwed Up,” a seven-inch single with DJ Screw remixing UGK on one side and Fat Pat on the other, and most exciting, a DVD of “Fat Pat: Ghetto Dreams,” a hard-to-come-by late-’90s document of the hip-hop scene on Houston’s south side. It showcases the candy-painted cars, the molasses-slow music and, ultimately, the casualties: Fat Pat was shot dead in 1998, and, in 2000, DJ Screw died of a codeine overdose. (Sinecure, two books, one LP, one seven-inch single and one DVD, $150.) – Jon Caramanica, The New York Times, November 29, 2013
Updated | Madlib did a surprise show in Paris last week at Mellow Bar with Egon and Blackjoy. We announced it here just a few hours ahead of time. A bunch of people made it in and had a good time, while others didn’t make it in and left us messages not fit for publication. Big thanks to Edwige Hamben for the photos.
Madlib joined Benji B in the studio for an extremely rare interview and an hour long DJ mix.
Madlib did a set for Boiler Room in San Francisco on October 19th. Here’s the video. Call out the track list in comments if you got ‘em.