Gary, Indiana rapper Freddie Gibbs’s newest record “$oul $old $eparately” aims for a commercial aesthetic that nevertheless delivers consistent and versatile production.
The release relieves a year-long anticipation following Gibbs’s and The Alchemist’s masterful “Alfredo” — a record that displayed the rapper’s incredible stylistic adaptability over numerous collaborations with established producers like Madlib.
Gibbs’ latest record departs from the retro-sample, idiosyncratic flair that stipples much of his discography. He traverses instead into an aesthetic that serves consistent clever and grimy bars over staggered trap beats while losing none of his emotional sincerity or humor.
There’s no shortage of notable features on the record either. These include Anderson .Paak, Raekwon, Pusha T, Offset, Kelly Price and more — all of whom complement the maximal, occasionally operatic textural spaces of the production.
Cuts like “Dark Hearted” feature an orchestral ensemble, while “Grandma’s Stove” sees Musiq Soulchild vocalizing over a spacey and hollowed soundscape. “Lobster Omelette'' melts off a lavish interlude into a mellowed, ritzy operatic build-up.
As in past records, Gibbs displays a consistency of lyrical quality that marks him as an unwavering, monumental figure in the rap realm. “$oul $old $eparately” only confirms his deftness and versatility.
Kai W. Li is an Arts Editor at The Daily Cardinal covering music, visual arts, and film. Follow him on Twitter at @kaijuneli.