2020 has been a year in which the modern rappers marketing strategy has significantly changed. Projects including Young Thug’s So Much Fun and Lil Uzi Vert’s double album release, which saw him feed fans in a span of two weeks both Eternal Atake and a Deluxe add-on LUV vs. The World 2. The perception in the rap game right now is to overload fans with a multitude of ways to enjoy their content. Not just throwing their name in the streaming wars between companies like Apple and Spotfiy but, taking advantage of platforms such as YouTube which grant artists the opportunities to be seen with a live stage presence with channels like NPR, COLORS, and VEVO Ctrl.
Enters one of Gary,Indiana's finest Freddie Gibbs and legendary underground producer Alchemist. A tag team that was bound to join forces, with a collaboration titled Alfredo. The project checks in at 10 songs and a digestible 35 minutes that covers a plethora of vibes. The days are numbered for artists looking to come out with lengthy projects to fill dated industry standards. With the ever changing ways of how we consume music and steady decline in attention spans across the world does not bode well for a 27 song, hour and half LP.Thankfully Gibbs waste no time and gets into the mix early.
The Alchemist is no stranger to Hip Hop heads as he has been going strong since the 1990’s producing for icons such as Mobb Deep, Eminem, and 50 cent. Here within Alfredo he does what the greats do, which is to adapt and reinvent themselves to fit any era and style to create something truly amazing. While keeping his skills up to par with frequent collaborators Action Bronson, Boldly James, and Conway The Machine this decade, he still can reach back into his bag and restore that feeling that so many fans crave.
Being that the two have worked together before on another collab project Fetti that included a third act, Curren$y , Alfredo feels like a true joint effort which sees Alchemist dark and gritty pockets met with his knowledge of what to do with soul samples clashing beautifully with Freddies elite drug lyricism.
‘1985’ is used strategically to draw the listener in on the very first song with a classic Bernie Mac cut and jazzy but vibrant guitar sample, while Gibbs easily slides while dropping gems like “1985, Michael Jordan, b****, I travel with a cocaine circus.” ‘God is Perfect’ also sees Al get loose and create a hazy smooth backdrop that has connections to the mafia aesthetic the album evokes with its Mario Puzo puppet strings cover.
‘Scottie Beam’ sees a great competitive spar of words between Fredie and surprisingly Rick Ross. Alchemist does his part by creating such a rich toned piano chop that needs nothing but to never stop repeating itself. Gibbs and Ross have a chemistry that's undeniable on this track, they sound like hood educators trying to get through to someone the best way they know how. ‘Look at Me’ sees Gibbs and Alchemist opt for a complete tonal shift where Freddie is able to do just about whatever he wants lyrically here. Jumping in and out of flows just to stumble into another direction that leads to another pile of rhyme schemes.
‘Frank Lucas’ and ‘Something to Rap About’ are used to show the creative direction and freedom Gibbs and Al command on this project. Two songs that could not be more of an antithesis of each other.‘Frank Lucas’ including Benny the Butcher, one third of white hot rap collective Griselda, which seems him just continuing his feature run that sees him demolish any beat he is attached to. On the contrary, Tyler the Creator perfectly describes the feeling ‘Something to Rap About’ creates “this sound like the boat I haven't bought yet,This sound like the moment I jump off it.Sun shinin', cold water fillin' in my pockets.” We see Tyler coming off the heels of his latest opus magnum Igor, tap into rhymes that detail his new level of superstardom and wealth.
‘Babies and Fools’ is a ten out of ten track and is personally going in my Alchemist favorites. Perfect beat, Perfect rappers, perfect subject matter. Conway the Machine and Fredie also do that technique where they let the sample finish the bar just to add emphasis that they are lyrical geniuses. ‘Baby $hit’ is another album cut that paints a dreamy escape for Gibbs to get off on.
What surprised me the most was the awareness that Freddie Gibbs executed with this latest project. As we are all still coping with quarantining measures Gibbs has done his homework using metaphors in relation to recent Michael Jordan documentary The Last Dance, pays homage to Joe Exotic, the colorful personality behind Netflix original Tiger King and, hosts enough sports and cinematic references sprinkled in the albums 35 minute runtime. Alchemist also does his fair share of pop culture research incorporating scenes of Mafia boss Joe Bonanno from the recent Godfather of Harlem series produced by EPIX.
In a recent interview, Freddie Gibbs mentioned how Alfredo came together, stating “that nothing was forced'' and “It felt like it was time for something to release.” You can feel that sentiment of unison as well as the free flowing nature of the project.Gibbs and Alchemist are a duo that should theoretically work on paper and they prove us all the way right. This album almost serves as an EP of sorts; short, sweet ,and to the point. It showcases some of the Alchemist’s growth and development that he is constantly eager to show.While Gibbs is on a mission to prove his pen can match any sound. Collectively, they created a piece of art that evokes that same feeling of a prime prodigy with a unique modern twist.