Baby are you still down?
Freddie Gibbs' new album Shadow of a Doubt leaked a bit ago, it's pretty sweet... Freddie is quickly establishing himself as one of the greats of modern hip hop flow, someone who I can hear on basically any beat, talking about anything, and it would be engrossing. Something about his "insistent flow", like, the way he doubles down on the "are you still down?" part on the hook, the way he intensifies his voice on the repetition, is just super addictive to me. There's a level of almost unconscious mastery to how he raps, a naturalness to every syllable that allows him to do some really virtuoso-tier technical expertise and genius-tier lyrical depth while still maintaining a convincing personality of detached coolness.
And on this track, probably my favorite off the album next to lead single "Fuckin' Up the Count", he teams up with two of the few rappers for whom all of this is even more true. Gucci Mane and E-40 are both multi-decade legends of their respective scenes, with legacies of innovation and constantly reestablishing themselves as the most definitive example of the qualities that brought Atlanta and the Bay Area to the world. Like E-40 is up there with Shakespeare in his contributions to the English language. And Gucci Mane is Gucci Mane, c'mon, there'd probably only be 50 posts on this blog if it wasn't for his creative lineage.
I could go on endlessly about the qualities of these rappers, but if you need such an education I think you ought to get it from the music itself. And if you're experienced, all you really need to be told is that this track works, and thus it is as good as it ought to be. The beat is this cold, like deep space cold, but also luxurious thing that has sort of become Gibbs' trademark in the post-Pinata era, but also happens to be a comfortable space for both E-40 and Gucci. They're rapping about sexual relations with attractive girls, i.e. "10 times out of 10 she's a 10 and I want to fuck her friends", but it doesn't really matter. Gibbs says "You make it to a brick in my hood and you hit the lotto" which says a lot more than you might think. Gucci says "if I'm ever in jail better send me something baby" which could be funny or sad. E-40 has another classic ad-lib when he asks himself "What she know you not?" and responds "She know I'm not the two, I'm the one". And that's all we need.