Madlib & Freddie Gibbs, Cocaine Pinata  
Madlib & Freddie Gibbs
Cocaine Pinata
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USA 2xLP 
Label: Madlib Invazion
Release Year: 2014
Style: Hip-Hop & R'n'B
 
  Tracks  
  SIDE A
1. Supplier
2. Scarface
3. Deeper
4. High ft. Danny Brown
5. Harold�s

SIDE B
6. Bomb ft. Raekwon
7. Shitsville
8. Thuggin�
9. Real
10. Uno

SIDE C
11. Robes ft. Domo Genesis & Earl Sweatshirt
12. Broken ft. Scarface
13. Lakers ft. Ab-Soul & Polyester the Saint

SIDE D
14. Knicks
15. Shame ft. BJ The Chicago Kid
16. Watts ft. Big Time Watts
17. Cocaine Pi�ata ft. Domo Genesis, G-Wiz, Casey Veggies, Sulaiman, Meechy Darko, & Mac Miller
 
  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. Pinata, a 17-track collaboration with producer Madlib, is the best distillation yet of his transparent approach to making music, combining stark honesty with electrifying talent as a lyricist and performer.

Pinata is �a gangster Blaxploitation film on wax,� Gibbs says, and the full-length result of a process that began in 2009. It�s an album with a sound that couldn�t be any further from the radio, where, according to the Gibbs, every rapper is Superman, or the dope dealer of the century, who has grinded to the top, never made a mistake and has no chinks in his armor.

�I will show you my flaws, I�ll show you what I�ve done wrong and what I�ve fucked up at,� says the native of Gary, Indiana, the former steel town best known for producing Michael Jackson. �I don�t regret shit, but I�ll show you the things I�m not proud of.�

Gibbs is joined on Pinata 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 Detroit�s Guilty Simpson, the pairing is unique as it is the first time for Gibbs working with just one producer.

There�s also Madlib�s own self-awareness of his style as a producer. �My stuff, it ain�t fully quantized�it has more of a human feel, so it might slow down or speed up,� he says. �So you have to be the type of rapper, like Doom or Freddie, who can catch that, or else you�ll be sounding crazy.�

Gibbs admits it was a challenge rapping over beats with chops and changes as unpredictable as the man who created them, but says�with conviction and supreme confidence��I think I did it to perfection.�

The perfection is apparent on the album, where Gibbs shifts from textbook lessons in robbing and drugging on tracks like �Scarface� and �Knicks,� to perhaps the album�s most personal song, �Broken,� a collaboration with Scarface, who, along with Tupac, DMX and 50 Cent, make up the rapper�s own Mount Rushmore of MCs (�You�re 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 Common�s �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 Detroit�s finest; while on �Real,� Gibbs addresses an old score just as Michael Corleone settled all family business on baptism day.

It�s tracks like �Real� that makes fans believe Gibbs� claim that �I�m about to show niggas how to rap again.� And he�s just as loyal. �As long as I keep satisfying them,� he says, �everybody else is going to fall in line.

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, he�s still on the corner hustling, which would be the downfall of the average rapper. Gibbs, however, isn�t average.

�When it comes to the nuts and bolts, the nitty gritty of this shit, flat-out spitting verse for verse,� he says. �Niggas ain�t on my level.� �Ronnie Reese, January 2014
 
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