You sit on a lacerated couch that feels stuffed with something, in the dingy living room of a small house. A layer of pungent smoke hovers just below the ceiling and extends nearly to the ashen carpet. The front door slams open, and five hooded individuals carrying duffle bags and firearms run in. They slam the door behind them. You stay completely still. They cannot see you. They begin to board up the windows, and take smaller bags out of the duffle bags . . .
Artists embody the reality that they live, no matter how absurd it may seem to outsiders. Listeners ought to remember that while delving into this monster of a record. Shadow Of A Doubt is the newest full-length from rapper Freddie Gibbs. After the overwhelming success of last year’s Piñata, produced entirely by studio mastermind Madlib, Gibbs follows up by enlisting a star-studded cast to help create one of his best albums to date.
The versatility of Gibbs is unmatched. He adapts to and takes control of any environment he inhabits, which transforms the stuffed feature list from a harrowing initial sight into a treasure trove of possibilities. Production credits include Boi-1da, Mike Dean, Kaytranada, and a dozen others. The featured vocalists are even more impressive, with Black Thought, Gucci Mane, Dana Williams, E-40, and more all included.
The artists that choose to approach topics pertaining to gang violence and drug culture tend to do so from a distance, and the select few that speak from personal experience usually contort the potency into dramatized composition. Freddie Gibbs doesn’t fall into either of these categories. He presents the truth upfront, and censors not one single detail. If you’re seeking potent, trunk-rattling hip-hop, this album is for you.
– stasi (@stasisphere)