Freddie Gibbs recently released his third studio album, “You Only Live 2wice,” on March 31, after putting his career on hold after being charged with alleged sexual assault.
Gibbs is one of those underground artists who is not respected for staying real to his music and is mostly known for his collaboration with Madlib on “Piñata” (2014). Like most artists, he uses his past life experiences and tells his story within his music, and in my opinion, Gibbs earns his credibility as an aspiring rapper. “You Only Live 2wice” tells Gibbs’s life story. Tales of dealing cocaine, a shooting in 2014 which injured two members of his entourage and his recent court case for sexual assault charges in Austria in 2016.
“He’s packing even more words in and rapping harder than ever, like his life depended on it,” said the A.V. Club’s Clayton Purdom, who gave the album a B+ rating overall.
What caught my ear when I first heard the album was the artist’s delivery. The strength in tone along with Gibbs’s old school inspired beats showed similar approaches to his 2015 album “Shadow Of A Doubt.” I enjoyed this album and how illuminated he was from the first song to the last. In the opening song, “20 Karat Jesus,” he says, “You not even just payin’ attention to your gift/God gave you a gift/Pay attention to what he got for you/Yah he could sell dope real good, that’s not your lane.” This line really reflects the album’s artwork of Gibbs as a resurrected Jesus because it shows a glance into himself and his appreciation for his rapping talent. There is a reminder for himself of where his true “lane” remains. Throughout the eight songs on the album, the listener experiences a transformation of Gibbs, getting a small taste of what he has been through. In songs like “Crushed Glass,” he really goes into depth about how he made it through his rape case, saying he “never touched anyone to begin with.” His voice speaks in such strength to express something so vulnerable and evocative.
My favorite in “You Only Live 2wice” is the final track, “Homesick.” I think this song leaves listeners on a positive note. “I just almost lost it all, for my friends/ Just sat in the cell, ten thousand miles away from my child, for my friends/ It’s when I realized I gotta start livin’ for my child, and not my friends, know what I’m sayin’?” he raps. Lastly, I would say Gibbs is going for a stronger, deeper definition in his words and hopes to continue working harder on his career to focus on what remains true to him.