Those of us who read the headlines know that Freddie Gibbs is coming off of a turbulent 12 months to say the least, as it was June, 2016 when the Gary, Indiana MC was arrested after a show in France for a rape that he supposedly committed the year before, and after weeks of imprisonment he was extradited to Austria to face the accusations - only to be exonerated of all charges this past September. One could only imagine the type of strain that comes with being imprisoned and falsely accused, and for most it’s probably too much pain to endure. Yet in this case Gibbs took all that pain and channeled it into his pen, whereas his art and music will forever be impacted by that traumatic life experience.
Without further ado Gibbs most recent music since his exoneration is an EP titled You Only Live 2wice, and although it’s no fair exchange it seems that those events brought the most out of his artistry. You Only Live 2wice is critiqued track by track below.
20 Karat Jesus
"I-I-I be kickin shit just like Rodman did the camera man, I peel 100 dope like the poppy seed in Afghanistan" this one is the definition of an epic introduction, most of which is thanks to phenomenal production through a collaboration between Pops, Speakerbomb, and Blair Norf, complete with a beat switch around the 2:45 mark that makes this one of the standout moments on the tape
“I got cake, bitch, everyday be my birthday, you can't take me off first place on my worst day” Produced by KAYTRANADA & BADBADNOTGOOD (<<< some of the top producers in the game right now) this one’s a decent cut even though Gibbs flow is shaky at time.
“The future started yesterday *****, every minute feelin different, I am not the same *****” The first single off the EP is definitely a heater, highlighted by the production from Speakerbomb, Aaron Bow, & Teddy Walton, which heavily samples Fear by Sade, most famously - or infamously- used by Mobb Deep with their classic record ‘Where Ya Heart At’.’ RIP Prodigy
“Dear Maria, you always kept a young ***** fed when I wasn't eatin, like when you set me up for the lick on them Puerto Ricans, always said that if I get rich off this shit that you'd be the reason” Produced by Speakerbomb & Blair Norf this one’s smooth enough to vibe out to - not mad at this...
“Quarter mill worth of jewels, these ***** leasin, ball so hard, my haters in the bleachers, I just fucked four bitches at Four Seasons, money made me forget, I got amnesia” Not exactly the content that you’d expect considering this is the first project since his exoneration, even still it bangs regardless 💪
“Time to go get me some yayo, I know that Andrea gon lease that car for me, I remember when Dukie lost his arm in fuckin armed robbery, when I seen his shit was danglin, almost felt my heart stoppin G, stop it G, drop it G, so much weed, forgot to breathe” Another decent cut complete with an outro that blends perfectly with the record that follows.
“Coke and marijuana, that molly I'm out here with it, plus my Maserati that new edition, that Michael Bivins” This one’s smooth not only for the New Edition reference in the record… although respect for that alone.
“***** get a watch, and a couple chains, think he harder than you, drop the jewelry, grow some dreads, think he smarter than you, please yourself or please your homies, man, what's harder to do? did some things in life I know I don't want my daughter to do” On the opposite end of You Only Live 2wice the last record is likely the most noteworthy record, as the title is in reference to his recent imprisonment in Austria, which again is now behind him as he’s been acquitted on all charges. Nonetheless that experience definitely made for the best of his new material, evident in this record where Gibbs effectively channeled that adversity into his work.
This one’s tough to judge as even though from start to finish it doesn’t disappoint, it maintains a relative low ceiling throughout separate from Homesick, Crushed Glass, and 20 Karat Jesus that are the clear standout records on the project. The records between however aren’t 🚮 but they’re hardly 🔥🔥🔥 either, and they ultimately suffer most from a lack of creativity despite his most recent life-changing experiences. For example the outro to Homesick is some of the most compelling work on the project, where Gibbs talk about the struggle to survive locked down in a foreign country, whereas even the reading material was in a language he couldn’t understand. Ultimately more content like that would have benefited the project, yet even still it’s a solid addition to his catalogue all the same.