Industrial cityscapes, a half-naked young lady among the caution tape, kush smoke billowing against a black backdrop — Freddie Gibbs welcomes you back to a stylized, police car strewn incarnation of Gary, Indiana with “Eastside Moonwalker.” After a string of solid gold mixtapes from 2009 to present, the man Madlib called “a new version of 2pac” drops a new
mixtape album on July 8th called ESGN, or Evil Seeds Grow Naturally (how’s that for a post-Wu-Tang backronym?). If “Moonwalker” and the glistening woodwind samples on other preview cut “Freddie Soprano” are any indicator, we’re in for the MC’s highest-fi, most fully-realized release to date — that is, until the full-length Beat Conducta collabo sees the light of day.
On the mic, Gibbs continues to astound. He squeezes syllables into irregular-sized rhyme schemes that spill out over the beat in double time, while spicing up his verses with some pro tactics: lapses into sing-song cadence, the strategic mid-bar pause, alignment of stressed syllables with bass hits. His delivery — half barked aggression, half seething intelligence — elevates his threats, boasts, insults, and bite-sized accounts of betrayal to a level of interwoven complexity most MCs could only begin to scratch at (see the “Corleone” / “mobile home” / “styrofoam” / “stones” / “chrome” passage he tears through in verse two). Unlike a sizable chunk of his previous mixtape output, the beat here (by GMF) matches Gibbs’ fury, as sputtering synth squelches share space with drill hi-hats and washes of low-end. When the arpeggio twinkles and Clams Casino-core vocal edits hit during the chorus, I’m willing to clear my mind of MadGibbs anticipation for a minute and enjoy the ride. (Note: this won’t stop me from looping “Thuggin’” and “Shame” for the whole foreseeable future.)
• Freddie Gibbs: http://www.freddiegibbs.com