Freddie Gibbs & The Alchemist - Alfredo
May 29, 2020
Not many people can go bar for bar with Freddie Gibbs. I think it is safe to say that this album cements his prowess as a lyricist. From the jump, his cadence, delivery, flow and lyricism is A1, combining thrilling rhymes with clever rhythms. His musicality is also quite impressive, often switching between duplets and triplets with the ease of a trained jazz musician. Speaking of musicians, the work The Alchemist does on this album is top tier. His production is tailor-made for Freddie Gibbs, providing beats that don’t overshadow the MC, but provide a generous foundation that is still exciting and noble in it’s own right. Each song deserves a mini-breakdown, so here we go!

The opening track “1985” is a guitar-driven track that features a classic IV-V-vi progression, but occasionally uses a picardy third as a cadential gesture. Freddie’s flow is ferocious, highlighting almost every triplet and eighth note.

“God Is Perfect” is an unfiltered track that shows Freddie can beat all these modern mumble rappers in THEIR game. He raps on top of a haunting piano riff and executes playful cadences and the triplet flow with almost too much ease.

“Scottie Beam” is smooth as hell. The beat almost feels like sipping on champagne, the held strings in octaves perfectly accentuate the piano progression and arpeggios. Rick Ross also holds his own as much as he can with Freddie. Not to mention the smooth ass outro of this track.

“Look At Me” is a lot more subdued. The beat foregoes drums in the foreground for a strong bass line, sampled vocals, and hints of strings and saxophone. Freddie Gibbs maintains a direct delivery with brilliant lyricism. The way the delivery is structured almost feels like Freddie riffing off one idea, especially the end when he raps one line at a time and rests for a few measures.

Benny the Butcher shows up and shows OUT on “Frank Lucas”. This beat is way more raw and aggressive than the others and really only riffs on one chord. We finally get relief at the end of the track. The outro features some luscious guitar melodies that really ease the tension created by the beat.

And just when you think it couldn’t get better, Tyler reminds us why he’s one of the best in the game. His verse works perfectly on “Something to Rap About”, a sultry, Neo-soul-inspired beat that features an easy drum kit rhythm and smooth guitar strumming.

“Baby $hit” feels like Freddie just showing off. He raps for the first two minutes straight and shows off why he is undoubtably one of the hottest MC’s right now.

“Babies & Fools” features Conway, fresh off the release of his last album No One Mourns the Wicked. This beat is a vibe, definitely a cool jazz influence. One neat (nerdy?) thing on this track is, due to the pitch alteration and process of sampling, the progression doesn’t really lie on the piano. The first chord and lead should be a an Eb going down to a D chord, but instead lies somewhere between Eb and E and lies in this middle ground the whole time. A Jacob Collier vibe. (Paging the key of G half sharp)

“Skinny Suge” allows Freddie to show off his storytelling ability. After the opening guitar riff, it’s story time with Mr.Gibbs. The beat is also a cool progression, a sort of Neapolitan vibe featuring a bII leading to a i chord.

“All Glass” is a great closing. Not only is Freddie Gibbs throwing every last rhyme he can right at the listener’s face, the beat is also ethereal, terrestrial and has elements of classic rock ’n’ roll and blues. The slight held B3 chords really enhance this vibe. The final aural image is glass shattering, which I assume is an image for Freddie dismantling his rap competitors and making a case for the greatest lyricist alive.

As the great Chad Vann says, this shit is SMOKE. Album of the Year so far.
May 29, 2020
Beautiful review! Love this album already
May 29, 2020
Yo what's up fam, just hear to say great review
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