Album Review: Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Pinata

In Hip Hop by Nick Russell

Album Review: Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Pinata

Guest review by Benny Diction – the London-based, South Wales/East Midlands-raised rapper who is part of the ‘Boom Bap Professionals’ collective.


Madlib has been a firm favourite of mine, from his Lootpack/Likwit Crew days, through his outings under the Quasimoto alias, to his collaborative LPs with underground mainstays like DOOM and Percee P. So, predictably, when he puts his name to a new project I’m interested.

I’d heard very little from Gibbs until I saw the ‘Thuggin’ video a couple years back. It stood out lyrically, sonically and visually against the overproduced, sugar-coated rap that seemed to dominate. I investigated Gibbs further through releases like ‘Cold Day In Hell’ and ‘Lord Giveth, Lord Taketh Away’ with Statik Selektah before seeing him steal the show at a London event alongside Madlib and DOOM.

Having had his subsequent mixtape ‘BFK’ on regular rotation, my anticipation for a full-length project with the right producer was building.

‘Piñata’ doesn’t disappoint. The contrast of Madlib’s soulful, lo-fi production with Gibbs’ rapid-fire delivery and unapologetically street subject matter is a winner, bolstered by the fine guest appearances.

Whilst they differ in sound, the result is a project similar in feel to the ‘RAP Music’ LP by Killer Mike & El-P: two minds from different corners of the rap sphere combining to make something raw, uncompromising and unique. And, more importantly, dope. Cop it!