#Bandcampgold-Resistance by Brandon Coleman
Albums have hearts and souls. I need all of them. My favorite Freddie Gibbs album is ESGN because he was so angry at Jeezy and his old label for mismanaging him that his mind was spiraling down the most angry heinous pathways possible and some days I’m there with him. That album has a heart for the worst days. Resistance has the opposite heart. It has love and joy and funk. It makes my five year old and my wife dance together. When the horns start on the song Sexy and the bass drops my family loses it.
I didn’t know about this album until I went to see Kamasi Washington live. Coleman is his pianist and Kamasi stepped back so he could launch into his lush composition Walk Free. It has the soul of a Donny Hathaway love song with gentle instrumental touches and admirable composition. I vowed that the next wifi connection found would bring me to his album!
The kids say things like “It’s a mood” and sound creepy to me but this album is one. Brandon Coleman does his Roger Troutman thing through the talk box but he doesn’t lean on it. It’s not a shtick. He’s written real songs that are well formed and funky which leaves the Vocoder as an additive you forget about after a while. While Sexy is funky and lets loose it is followed by There’s No Turning Back which is its equal in glimmering smooth horizontal excellence. It glides by at two minutes and twenty seconds leading into the title track which is even shorter (one minute and fifty one seconds).
This is where I confess that you’re not me and you may not have the same taste. Coleman is part of that West Coast jazz contingent with Kamasi (same folks worked on To Pimp A Butterfly with Kendrick). His influences are people I LOVE LOVE LOVE from Freddie Hubbard to Troutman to George Clinton to Dre to Quik. I am a die hard West Coast sound guy and nothing is funkier than Addiction (with killer guest work from Sheera). These songs slap and groove while maintaining a high IQ in musical execution. Most people would have made a song like Love the somber/poignant come down in the album but he turned it up, made it bounce like a pop song so that the concept can taste as good to your ears as it should to your heart; as it should to your everyday interactions. This is my kind of dude so Resistance is my kind of album. The boldest protest made by it is the earned smile it wears while playing in this world of ghastly madness. I wonder if Stevie Wonder has heard this album?
Stream or buy Resistance below:
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Tagged #BandcampGold, #ESGN, Bandcamp, Brandon Coleman, Freddie Gibbs, funk, George Clinton, Jeezy, Kamasi Washington, Resistance, Roger Troutman, Soul
Song of The Year-Knicks by Freddie Gibbs produced by Madlib
When the full album collaboration between these two forces was announced some aspects of it were certain. The lyrics were going to be tough. Gibbs has a range of toughness that runs anywhere from Rambo going back in Vietnam to win it himself to Carlito Brigante narrating from a leather jacket about how the worlds changed while walking in the rain. The lyrics fall somewhere in between on their album Piñata with Madlib being the true wildcard. Instead of throwing the oddest collection of acid jazz and obscure funk samples behind Gibbs, Madlib makes everything feel dusty and soulful which serves well in amplifying the spotlight on Gibbs natural anger and fascinating flow (even if it does partially sedate the listening experience).
While Piñata is a true underground album that sneers at the very concept of “hits” or “stand alone singles” Knicks is my favorite sports song in years. It directly follows a song dedicated to the Lakers that’s joyously about their winning history, hot California girls and Magic Johnson owning the Dodgers. Once Lakers stops and Knicks begin the tone change is like stepping into a freezer. The sample sweetly calls and Freddie is watching Jordan carve up the Knicks (or later on watching Lebron do the same thing) within forty three seconds he’s shooting up someone’s home. He seethes with thoughts of revenge for dead friends. While the Lakers song is all celebratory, the Knicks song is all cold hard anger a perfect backdrop for the team with the biggest spotlight and the worst record at utilizing it. By the end of it he actually just starts laughing at the Knicks for all their losses in the Jordan era (Bulls fans old enough to remember Jordan are ALL like this. Terrible to be around like I would be if my sister became president and I did nothing but brag about it forever after. Great team, great fans…just saying…).
Piñata is a weird album. Not better than Gibbs scalding Man on Fire style Jeezy revenge album ESGN from last year but better and better with repeated listens. It’s an album you just need and a song like this is right at its beating pulse.
Song of the Year-Eastside Moonwalker by Freddie Gibbs produced by GMF
All of the debate about Kanye West’s new album Yeezus versus Jay-z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail obscures the real best rap album of 2013 so far from its rightful spotlight….and that’s Freddie Gibbs #ESGN (Evil Seeds Grow Naturally). If you want the kind of seething angry blackness that Yeezus goes for but you want the high lyrical standard of a Jay verse, #ESGN has both.
Not only that but on tracks like Eastside Moonwalker you can trade in the name brand name checking for dealing drugs to people in mobile homes, the model banging brags for admissions that Gibbs isn’t pretty at all and his game is all mental. This is a song that begins with the line “Lifestyles of the insane, Eastside Thug N I’m the sh_t you a sh_t stain.”
Freddie Gibbs is known for his gangsta rap and that flow, he’s had angry thuggish projects before but this one is more desolate and better than any that came before it. This is partially due to the falling out with Young Jeezy (never thought that would work out) and the feeling that runs through the nineteen tracks (on Itunes they have more, I bought mine through DJBooth) that it’s Gibbs and his people versus the world.
My greatest take away from #ESGN which is exemplified by Eastside Moonwalker is how rhythmic Gibbs is now. He’s not stacking staccato bars he’s turned them into a twisted double time lullaby. How great is it that he’s rapping about the grungiest things while incorporating his musical connection to Michael Jackson (both are from Gary Indiana)? He absolutely wrecks 99% of everything he touches nowadays, so much so that when I heard this I knew I wanted to spotlight a track but couldn’t come up with which one. Moonwalker is the one because its a reminder that he doesn’t need big features or elaborate beats to make gold. He is gold. The songs on #ESGN all follow each other so closely and fit into this singular sprawling puzzle of frustration and pride. All the beats pulse and sneak up on you dangerously.
If you are looking to make the best album of 2013 you need to listen to Eastside Moonwalker and ask yourself how you can do better.
Stream or Buy #ESGN below