$oul $old $eparately
The thing about Freddie Gibbs’ music is that you know it when you hear it but can imagine him almost anywhere: alongside DJ Paul on some throwback Southern trap (“PYS”) or over a lounge-y Alchemist beat (“Blackest in the Room”), next to newcomers like Moneybagg Yo (“Too Much”) or pioneers like Raekwon (“Feel No Pain”). Were his voice weaker or his writing less sharp, his workingman’s kingpin persona might get washed out, but they aren’t. And over the course of 45 minutes, he confirms that his stylistic flexibility isn’t creative indecision so much as proof of his gift for bridging hip-hop’s past with its ever-evolving present. After 2019’s underground-leaning Madlib collaboration Bandana and the self-consciously classic sound of 2020’s Alchemist-produced Alfredo, $oul $old $eparately sounds like Gibbs locking in his niche: the rapper’s rapper that a general audience can understand.