After surprising fans last year by teaming up with Madlib for arguably the most important hip-hop album of the year, Freddie Gibbs has been relatively quiet at least in terms of releasing new music. Gibbs recently got back from performing a short tour in Australia and New Zealand, and back in February he hinted that he might be cooking something new up and even performed a previously unreleased track called “Pronto” at one of his shows in Santa Barbara. Then early Monday morning without warning Gangsta Gibbs drops a surprise EP revealing “Pronto” was more than just a new single and is actually the title track off of his most recent project.
Unlike last year’s Piñata LP this three track EP does not boast famous production credits and instead of Madlib’s soulful cuts Gibbs has opted to rhyme over beats from Toronto based producers Big Pops and Mikhail, and Las Vegas beatmaker, Blair Norf. The title track is set over an eerie, but hard hitting beat that perfectly encompasses the Toronto sound, 808 drums and all. Gibbs takes no prisoners on the track and smoothly nails verses about the dope game lifestyle in his signature style.
Some notable lines are:
“Rap game is the dope game, man I got enemies like I been robbin’ n*** for the cocaine. Face down on the floor mane, if we got beef up in the street I’ll bring it to yo door mane.”
“Y’all know (yeah), y’all know we never have no convo with 5-0, chop a quarter kilo of Rondo, took it to the condo, pronto.”
On the follow up track “White Range” the lyricism is reminiscent of his work as MadGibbs, but the beat is not. As Freddie reflects about friends he’s lost, lifestyles of the insane and the hustles and fiends that inspire his raps Pops lays down hazy production with a distinctly southern feel to it. The saxophone in the background adds a touch of soul to a beat that otherwise might be more familiar in Houston’s hip-hop scene than Toronto’s. Gibbs takes full advantage and shows off his versatility by making his flow fit comfortably. The hook “incense burnin’…” helps space out his fiery style and slows down the track making it choice to light up a ‘wood to.
The project wraps up with “Diamonds” produced by Blair Norf and is the only track on the EP that features a guest appearance. R&B singer Dana Williams blesses it with her beautiful voice that longtime fans of Gibbs are familiar with from his track “The Hard” off of the Baby Face Killa mixtape with DJ Drama. “Diamonds” has a unique bluesy vibe to it and it is probably the most surprising beat of the three. By itself you would think that it is perfect for a love song or would be better paired up with an artist like Drake or Wale, but Gibbs uses it to reminisce on times that were emotionally difficult and how he was able to overcome his circumstances.
If you were expecting a follow up to Piñata then there is a good chance that you will find the Pronto EP disappointing, but if you look at it as a small taste of whats to come with Lifestyles of The Insane, which is still expected to drop sometime this year then there is a lot to be excited about. One thing is for sure, Freddie stays grinding and is constantly demonstrating how versatile he is as a MC. These days you will be hard pressed to find gangster rappers with credibility and the ability to body a mic so it goes without saying that Gibbs is a breath of fresh air.