When you hear the name Freddie Gibbs, what comes to mind? Women? Cars? Drugs? Many would be quick to say he’s “just another rapper”, but excessive high-hat drums and cussing aside, Freddie Gibbs has become one of the most infamous poetic rappers in hip hop history. After coming out with The Miseducation Of Freddie Gibbs in 2009, Gibbs has become a gem in the underground rap world. Since then, he’s been releasing mixtapes in routine fashion.
I don’t want to say ESGN (otherwise known as Evil Seeds Grow Naturally) can only be appreciated by those who enjoy hardcore gangsta rap and the like – much the opposite. If you give this tape a listen, chances are that the strong beats and profane lyrics will stick and remain stuck.
The first words that stream through the speakers are “N*gga, this is a motherfuckin’ testimony”. That in itself explains enough as to what message Freddie Gibbs is trying to get across, and with what kind of conviction he intends to get it across.
Besides the outlandish feeling of cruising around in a 1963 Chevy Impala Lowrider with two furry dice on the rearview mirror, this album emits a vibe one would feel when: a) searching for the peak of relaxation in a cool basement, or b) being exceptionally stoned. Sometimes both.
“I Seen A Man Die” has got to be one of the meaningful songs here. The keyboard sound effects throughout the song evoke nostalgia. Words like “Before I seen a n*gga cry, seen a young n*gga die,” just go to show how much of a struggle living on Indiana’s East side was for Gibbs, and through his lyrics, he has illustrated that point clearer than ever.
In “DOPE in my Styrofoam”, well-known terms like “blaze”, “pound” and “roll” are tossed around liberally. These overt nods to marijuana touch upon the effects the sticky icky has had, and is having, on Gibbs and his life. This track is one of the songs you will easily (guiltily?) find yourself bobbing your head to. Despite the basic, repetitive beat, it’s amazingly catchy and will probably be often heard blasting in people’s cars driving down the highway.
“Freddie Soprano” is an appropriate album closer. The style and flow to Gibbs’ rapping in this track is prodigious and on-point. The late arrival of the synthesizer, which starts in the middle of the song and runs until the end, throws in a dynamic sound that makes this a memorable one.
True, ESGN may be a bit overly “gangsta” at times, but overall, the album succeeds in demonstrating that Freddie Gibbs is far from being done in this “rap game”. After becoming one of the Midwest’s most infamous lyrical rappers, this latest offering proves that there’s more of Gibbs right around the corner.