Review of Freddie Gibbs $oul $old $eperately
Freddie’s new album is a five-star resort of luxury, triumph, and trauma with coke rap as the concierge.
Freddie Gibbs is one of those artists that you know won’t let you down. Regardless of his many social media beefs and spontaneous nature, he never seems to get distracted from making quality music. From Bandana to Alfredo, Freddie has proven again and again that he’s a chameleon of an artist, with the ability to find a pocket in any instrumental or producer style. With that being said, Soul Sold Separately might be the best example of Freddie’s range to date.
As usual, Freddie opens the project extravagantly with Couldn’t Be Done featuring Kelly Price. A maximalist intro engulfed in a triumphant flurry of trap horns, drums and piano keys, much like a Vegas resort, it’s a barrage of the senses. However, nothing of Freddie’s larger than life persona gets lost in the bombardment, it’s his more humorous lines that stand out on this one, “I had to Phonte on ‘em, I little brother niggas”, followed by, “different colour hoes, sorry Umar”. The idea of Dr Umar and Freddie even having an interaction is a hilarious thought.
The first half of the album is overflowing with glisteningly good songs like the intro. Blackest in the Room is a classic Uncle Al and Freddie double team which could’ve worked just as well on Alfredo as it does it here. Visually, the song is like walking into a five-star hotel lobby that turns into a bustling Nevada casino around the 1:15 mark.
Freddie’s lyrics about black suits and hired limos enhance the whole resort theme, effortlessly gliding over the instrumental like how chips glide over a poker table.
Pain & Strife and Zipper Bags, add a layer of nostalgia to the album, exuding this early 2000’s dirty south vibe that’s reminiscent of UGK and Goodie Mob. Whatever the inspiration might be, Freddie does it brilliantly, the verses are good as per, but the hooks might be the best hooks Freddie’s ever made. It’s refreshing to see him make more chorus-oriented songs than just verse-based ones, and Zipper Bags ended up being my favourite song on this tracklist.
As you can probably gather at this point Freddie’s performance stays solid throughout the project, unwavering no matter the instrumental, for the most part, this can be said for the features as well. Pusha T, Rick Ross and the legendary Scarface are the ones that still the show on the tracklist.
If it wasn’t for Freddie matching his formidability, Rozay could’ve easily taken over Lobster Omelette, as soon as the “M-M-Maybach” tag hits. Push has a presence similar to Ross in this aspect, bleeding out stank-face bars like. “The dope game I’m the ultimate creator player, 2K21, Savage like 21”.
Of course, despite everyone’s best efforts, Scarface is the one who ends up being the showstopper. In his verse on Decoded, he raps about his perspective of the rap climate and the state of Black youth today. It’s a stellar introspective verse, that’s matched exquisitely by Freddie’s rough and tough rhythm, and beat? My god the beat.
From the intro to the closer, it’s like walking into a casino with three credit cards and leaving with three credit cards to pay off. A real upper and downer. Freddie taps into his vulnerability massively in the second half of the album, expressing genuine remorse for his actions through his voice in a way we haven’t really seen before.
This is a concept album that clearly revolves around great storytelling and great rapping, flaunting Freddie’s supreme range as an artist. Despite the title, there is a lot of soul to be found in this project.
Score/Excellent: The Rabbit hops in his creative bag and comes through with a night’s stay at an all-inclusive Hip-Hop wonderland. However, cocaine not provided.
[I rank albums on a scale of: Poor, Good, Excellent, and Outstanding]
Written By Jake Campbell