Featuring Danny Brown, Mac Miller, Earl Sweatshirt, Raekwon, Scarface, Domo Genesis, Ab-Soul, Polyester the Saint, BJ The Chicago Kid, Big Time Watts, G-Wiz, Casey Veggies, Sulaiman, Meechy Darko & Freddie Kane.
Freddie Gibbs is the product of violent, drug-laden streets but unlike most rappers with similar resumes, he brings the block to the booth without inhibition or an exaggerated rap persona. Piñata, a 17 track collaboration with producer Madlib, is the best distillation yet of his transparent approach to making music, combining an at times stark honesty with electrifying talent as a lyricist and performer.
Piñata is a gangster Blaxploitation film on wax, says Gibbs, who came up on the streets of Gary, Indiana, the disregarded city previously best known for producing Michael Jackson. Here he is joined by Mac Miller, Earl Sweatshirt, Raekwon, Scarface, Domo Genesis, Ab-Soul and a host of others in setting his soliloquies of the streets alongside film snippets and dusted funk, soul and prog musical tapestries. While this is the latest in a series of single-artist collaborations for Madlib, after Jaylib (J Dilla), Madvillainy (MF Doom) and the street-centric O.J. Simpson with Detroits Guilty Simpson, the pairing is unique as it is the first time for Gibbs working with just one producer.
On Piñata, where Gibbs can shift from textbook lessons in robbing and drugging on trackslike Scarface and Knicks, to perhaps the albums most personal song, Broken, a collaboration with Scarface, who, along with Tupac, DMX and 50 Cent, make up the rappers own Mount Rushmore of MCs (Youre getting a hurricane of all those motherfuckers hitting you at once when you listen to Freddie Gibbs, he says). Deeper, a Gibbs favorite and the third single from the album after Thuggin (2012) and Shame, (2013) is an ode to hip-hop in the mold of Commons I Used to Love H.E.R.; High, featuring Danny Brown, is self-explanatory and just what you would expect from Gibbs, Madlib and one of Detroits finest; while on Real, Gibbs addresses an old score just as Michael Corleone settled all family business on baptism day.
As a producer, Madlib, quite simply, is music, and ten years into his career-a time when other artists become comfortable-Gibbs remains restless, focused, with an eye on the competition and their position relative to his ascent. This is because mentally, hes still on the corner hustling, which would be the downfall of the average rapper. With Piñata, Gibbs confirms that he is anything but average.
A4 High feat Danny Brown
B1 Bomb feat Raekwon
C1 Robes feat Domo Genesis, Earl Sweatshirt
C2 Broken feat Scarface
C3 Lakers feat Ab-Soul
D2 Shame feat BJ the Chicago Kid
D3 Watts feat Big Time Watts
D4 Piñata feat Casey Veggies, Domo Genesis, G-Wiz, Mac Miller, Meechy Darko, Sulaiman