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Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Pinata

Freddie Gibbs, Madlib — March 17, 2014 | Comments (43)


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 & Madlib – Thuggin EP
Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Shame EP
Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Deeper EP
Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Knicks Remix EP
Pinata Instrumentals

Freddie Gibbs photo by Peter Beste


  1. Shit is mad ill – need a show in the nations capital Washington DC

    Comment by Dale Wathen — January 29, 2014, 10:22 am
  2. [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

    Comment by klondike — January 29, 2014, 10:28 am
  3. Are those tour dates for 2013 or 2014?

    Comment by Ty — January 29, 2014, 10:32 am
  4. Dale, Word, we need more Stones Throw up in D.C.

    Comment by Jorge — January 29, 2014, 10:32 am
  5. 2014 of course. thanks for pointing out the typo.

    Comment by Rappcats — January 29, 2014, 10:34 am
  6. Ever given a show in the great white north a thought? Toronto/Montreal would be straight. Love from Canada.

    Comment by medicinalhiphop — January 29, 2014, 10:47 am
  7. Or Vancouver, good weed. Love from Canada.

    Comment by Ben — January 29, 2014, 1:08 pm
  8. When do tickets go on sale for the tour?

    Comment by David — January 29, 2014, 1:12 pm
  9. 3 for dc!

    Comment by alienradio — January 29, 2014, 1:38 pm
  10. C u in Denver, Pumped!

    Comment by Logan — January 29, 2014, 3:33 pm
  11. When will orders be up for vinyl?

    Comment by Nick — January 29, 2014, 5:05 pm
  12. goddamnit bbc just play the track

    Comment by carelton — January 29, 2014, 7:17 pm
  13. Make that 4 for DC…we got lots of love for MadGibbs out here

    Comment by Bongoh — January 30, 2014, 12:46 pm
  14. We need a tour date in Toronto!

    Comment by Gibson — January 30, 2014, 9:30 pm
  15. The Bougainvillea-Killah – Dope Track, looking forward for Pinata

    Comment by Michael — January 31, 2014, 3:14 am
  16. Not sure Gibbs would be able to make it across the border with out a hefty cheque unfortunately 🙁

    Comment by Willy — January 31, 2014, 4:31 pm
  17. “yea

    Comment by Rizzle — February 1, 2014, 8:30 pm
  18. Raw, debonair, straight Hip-hop, elegant soul, fusion jazz. Who needs more !
    March 18th.., well simply my bday. Hope this gem can make it to Paris, France!
    As back-up, can you ensure it will be available on iTunes Europe ? Cheers

    Big up to Madgibs !

    Comment by Gildas — February 2, 2014, 10:35 am
  19. This is tight… they gotta come London, i would defo hit that up

    Comment by Jack — February 10, 2014, 12:15 pm

    Comment by toy-t — February 10, 2014, 10:09 pm
  21. Madlib needs to show the East Coast some love. Come on man, perform in NC for once!

    But in regards to Pi

    Comment by Shaka — February 26, 2014, 8:14 pm
  22. add me to the DC choir. the district gots love for gibbs

    Comment by scrote — February 26, 2014, 8:16 pm
  23. N

    Comment by Shakal — February 26, 2014, 10:57 pm
  24. Just wondering if you’ll offer lossless downloads for those EPs… cheers.

    Comment by tompd — February 27, 2014, 12:29 pm

    needs The Madlib and Gangster Gibbs to come up North!

    Comment by WHEELER — February 28, 2014, 10:24 pm
  26. make that 6 for the district

    Comment by Reggie Stems — March 3, 2014, 9:40 am
  27. Got mad love from Lib and Gibbs. Pinata is gonna be the Album of the year no doubt. You guys should do a show here in South Africa.

    Comment by Mr Lu the Riddler — March 3, 2014, 11:59 am
  28. cant wait 2 c them on 3/28/14 hell yeah!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Comment by manny moe — March 11, 2014, 10:01 am

    Comment by Eric — March 13, 2014, 1:57 am
  30. You’ll should release this officially this weekend.

    Comment by FAN OF LIB — March 14, 2014, 8:05 am
  31. Everyone Buy Two Copys,Support Gibbs & Madlib. This Album Is Tight
    Another Classic For The Hip Hop Fans.

    Comment by akaexodus — March 15, 2014, 7:03 am
  32. we need a tour date in brazil, come please!!

    Comment by FelipeTX0 — March 18, 2014, 3:59 pm
  33. Come to Toronto everybody loves you here man, you n Madlib

    Comment by Shalev — March 18, 2014, 4:05 pm
  34. What are the bonus tracks in the cd? Can’t find the track list anywhere

    Comment by TrApMaN — March 19, 2014, 3:04 pm
  35. The bonus tracks are: Deep, Cold on the Blvd, Terrorist, The Morning After

    Comment by Rappcats — March 19, 2014, 3:07 pm
  36. Gibbs, peace from BRASIL!

    Comment by Richard — March 19, 2014, 8:31 pm
  37. Shoutout to gibbs and madlib. they are the true definition of UnderGround Kings. Mad love from chicago

    Comment by Ojay — March 21, 2014, 3:56 pm
  38. would love to hear Freddie rap about being nice to people, dishin out 5 bucks to a homeless person, gettin involved in a local charity/fundraiser for a worthwhile cause, just doin general Make-A-Wish-Foundation type shit, etc. over some Madlib chopped and screwed P.M Dawn instrumentals…

    make it happen.

    folk’ll buy it.

    increase the peace.


    Comment by dim jim — March 25, 2014, 4:53 am
  39. cant believe I missed the la show.

    Comment by christian — April 4, 2014, 11:35 pm
  40. Damned I really feel that new maddgibbs album.Already best hip-hop album of the year!!This shit is so inspiring, you can check the artwork I made for the album here: Thx for the support!!

    Comment by Blue Matter — April 9, 2014, 7:32 pm
    When I first hear Freddie Gibbs I didn’t think he had anything special on him, I actually thought he was just like any average rapper making Trap music until I hear this album. WOW! From beginning to end I love this album. I didn’t think that a great album was going to come out in a while since Good Kid M.A.A.D City. Gibbs has a really good flow, intricate lyrics and a special way of telling a story. Madlib did his job producing amazing smooth and soulful beats full of samples and interludes.

    Comment by WEANS2 — July 2, 2014, 1:28 am
  42. Brazilian Tour?

    Comment by Henrique — January 27, 2016, 7:51 pm
  43. thanks you freddie gibbs and mablid i like your albums i love you sound music is good wen you come in paris you make the concert i am dj i play hip hop thanks for your contact see you soon bye

    Comment by faouzi rabehi — May 17, 2016, 12:23 pm

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