Freddie Gibbs, The Alchemist – ‘Alfredo’ album review

Throughout the 2010s, Freddie Gibbs has been one of the most under-appreciated talents in the rap game. He has been at it for a majority of the 21st century, and, for the most part, has done nothing but drop quality project after quality project after quality project. He’s got great pen game, collaborates with some of the best producers out there, and has a visceral, combative flow that is right in your face and holds back no punches. Knowing the previous work of The Alchemist, I only knew that Alfredo was going to be a quality record. Not only is it high-quality, it is without a doubt the best rap album of 2020 so far.

The project kicks off with “1985”, which makes references to Michael Jordan’s early years on the Chicago Bulls where a majority of his teammates were doing cocaine. He was on the “cocaine circus”. The track is backed by these epic guitar riffs and some percussion that make you feel like you are listening to live music more-so than an electronically-produced instrumental, which is the trend on this record and what takes it to just another level in its listening experience.

Gibbs then gets into topics of gangs and crime on the track “God Is Perfect”. The piano, the faint boom-bap beat, and droning horns layered over each other give this track an eerie vibe to it.

We then get our first of a few melodic, laidback instrumentals on this album in “Scottie Beam”. Easily, the most timely and important track on this record that discusses racial profiling from police. Gibbs also throws some slight shade at his IG followers who get triggered by this content on the line “Castratin’ n*ggas in they feelings on IG. Will never let this industry demasculinize me”. Rick Ross also gives a nice feature on here and compares his talents to that of some DC and Marvel superheroes. There’s a lovely piano and some lush synths over this one that add the feel of two guys that know class.

The Alchemist then provides some horrorcore-inspired instrumentals on “Frank Lucas”. The synths run through the entirety of the track at the same volume and same pitch to make it feel like you are being chased, but can’t get away from whatever it is that is chasing you, which could very well serve as a metaphor for those wanting to get away from a life of crime to have a better life. Benny the Butcher gives a commanding feature on the track. Recently, every time you hear Benny flow, it makes you be attentive.

“Something to Rap About” gives us the rap crossover we didn’t know that we needed as Gibbs teams up with Tyler, the Creator. The track sees them dive into completely opposite topics as Gibbs raps about his involvement in the drug game and crimes from his past while Tyler discusses his rise to fame earned from his last two records Flower Boy and Igor.

Gibbs then flexes his wealth and how many women he sleeps with on “Baby $hit”. There’s a glistening instrumental layered over Gibbs’ always hard-hitting flow, and I absolutely love the line referencing one of my favorite Usher songs “U Remind Me”.

“Babies & Fools” is my favorite track on this record as it is flat-out a jazz song, and samples “All Of Me” by Bruce Hibbard in the refrain, which gives you all you need to know of The Alchemist’s genius. Gibbs discusses all the people he’s had to cut off because of how they are limiting his success. Conway the Machine gives a heartfelt feature discussing how he owes it to his kids to be there even if he has a toxic baby mama.

On the back end of this record, “Skinny Suge” sees Gibbs provide one of his best freestyles and pays homage to his late uncle Big Time Watts. There is an absolutely nasty guitar layered on this instrumental, which is one of my favorite touches on this project.

“Look At Me” and “All Glass” aren’t bad songs in the slightest, but they do pale in comparison to the rest of the tracks on here.

Alfredo is a masterpiece. The Alchemist and Freddie Gibbs exceeded their already high expectations for this collaborative work. Gibbs continues to kill it with the juxtaposition of a hard-hitting flow and melodic instrumentals. He’s someone that needs more respect on his name and this album should be the one that finally gives him the musical notoriety which is way overdue for him.

Richest Tracks: “1985”, “God Is Perfect”, “Scottie Beam”, “Frank Lucas”, “Something to Rap About”, “Baby $hit”, “Babies & Fools”, “Skinny Suge”

Worst Track: “Look At Me”

Rating: 9/10

Listen to the album:

Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/album/3znl1qe13kyjQv7KcR685N?si=17KkRM6iT722p_ak70nqAg

Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/album/alfredo/1513978902

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