Midwestern by birth and temperament, Freddie Gibbs has always seemed a little wary of talking himself up—he’s more show than tell. But between 2019’s Madlib collaboration (Bandana) and the Alchemist-led Alfredo, what wasn’t clear 10 years ago is crystal now: Gibbs is in his own class. The wild, shape-shifting flow of “God Is Perfect,” the chilling lament of “Skinny Suge” (“Man, my uncle died off a overdose/And the fucked-up part of that is I know I supplied the n***a that sold it”), a mind that flickers with street violence and half-remembered Arabic, and beats that don’t bang so much as twinkle, glide, and go up like smoke. Alfredo is seamless, seductive, but effortless, the work of two guys who don’t run to catch planes. On “Something to Rap About,” Gibbs claims, “God made me sell crack so I had something to rap about.” But the way he flows now, you get the sense he would’ve found his way to the mic one way or the other.

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