17 Songs, 1 Hour

EDITORS’ NOTES

At first glance, the pairing of producer Madlib and rapper Freddie Gibbs seems unlikely. The former is the ultimate crate-digger, known as much for his reclusive tendencies as his endless collection of obscure soul, jazz, rock, and other musical ephemera; the latter is a street-hardened former dealer who rhymes about the perils of the dope game. But they say opposites attract, and in this case their two aesthetics complement one another. Gibbs is a nimble, gifted rapper, his syllables quick-stepping around Madlib's many twists and turns, from the grainy '70s soul-funk of "Scarface" to the half-time disco of "Harold's" to the hazy West Coast G-funk of "Thuggin." The duo's credentials are strong enough to pull some of hip-hop's finest into their orbit: oddball Danny Brown contributes a verse to the squirming "High," while the crews from The Wu-Tang Clan, Top Dog Entertainment, and Odd Future are all represented (via cameos from Raekwon, Ab Soul, and Earl Sweatshirt, respectively). As a final shot of gravitas, Scarface drops a verse on "Broken." It's a deserved blessing from one of hip-hop's finest MCs to one of its most unlikely but successful pairings.

EDITORS’ NOTES

At first glance, the pairing of producer Madlib and rapper Freddie Gibbs seems unlikely. The former is the ultimate crate-digger, known as much for his reclusive tendencies as his endless collection of obscure soul, jazz, rock, and other musical ephemera; the latter is a street-hardened former dealer who rhymes about the perils of the dope game. But they say opposites attract, and in this case their two aesthetics complement one another. Gibbs is a nimble, gifted rapper, his syllables quick-stepping around Madlib's many twists and turns, from the grainy '70s soul-funk of "Scarface" to the half-time disco of "Harold's" to the hazy West Coast G-funk of "Thuggin." The duo's credentials are strong enough to pull some of hip-hop's finest into their orbit: oddball Danny Brown contributes a verse to the squirming "High," while the crews from The Wu-Tang Clan, Top Dog Entertainment, and Odd Future are all represented (via cameos from Raekwon, Ab Soul, and Earl Sweatshirt, respectively). As a final shot of gravitas, Scarface drops a verse on "Broken." It's a deserved blessing from one of hip-hop's finest MCs to one of its most unlikely but successful pairings.

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