Thursday, January 19, 2012

Freddie Gibbs comes through with the video of the year

With an unlikely entrant as a serious contender for illest video [so far] of 2012 from an even more unlikely duo, rapper Freddie Gibbs and producer extraordinaire Madlib recently released a set of visuals for the title song from their sparse but satisfying Thuggin EP.

I don't know what kind of lifestyle Mr. Gibbs lives when he's not on stage ripping mics with his patented hurried-but-relaxed flow that is at times very Dead Prez-ish (in a good way), but if this video is at least a partial representation of his daily operation, then this man deserves a standing ovation.

And then an arrest warrant.

The scenario won't be a foreign concept to those familiar with the video's setting -- a low income apartment complex in Anyhood, USA with two masked gunmen storming a drug dealer's apartment to steal drugs, guns and cash.

But this video somehow takes that simple concept to the next level of reality with scenes of Gibbs (with his anonymous accomplice) seen rapping interspersed with sudden shots of the most random, grimy-looking dudes participating in fun activities like cooking crack and unabashedly brandishing heavy firearms in front of the camera. In other words, at least in my vocabulary, they were thuggin. But imagery is so powerful because of how real it seemingly is.

On top of that, did I mention that the beat is a classic Madlib invazion?

It's some of the best work outside of a remix that I've heard from Madlib in a while, and the Thuggin song itself is highly reminiscent of his late 90s/early 00s production that also featured a rapid-rhymer in Wildchild (much like this Thuggin project), 1/3 of the late but legendary Lootpack crew.

(Madlib just dropped another incredible EP -- this time alongside longtime collaborator Planet Asia -- that features the same high quality Hiphop music we've come to expect from him over the past decade-plus, so hopefully this is all a sign that Madlib is going to be permanently returning to his Hiphop roots after a bit of a genre-testing departure from his signature Boom Bap that first put him on the map. My first vote is for an album with Blu, second for another album with DOOM, but I'm just sayin...)

The EP is available for purchase at Madlib's career-long recording home, Stones Throw Records.