Leave This Piñata Hanging
Indiana rapper Freddie Gibbs takes the reigns over these Madlib-created beats on their latest collaboration, Piñata. This album is the culmination of an endeavor that began back in 2011. Three EPs later, the duo is releasing their first full-length, 17 tracks of unique beats and gritty rhymes. Piñata also features a few guest spots by renowned artist such as Earl Sweatshirt, Raekwon and even gangster rap legend Scarface. For some reason, though the math doesn’t add up; instead of a great hip hop album, all this just equates to a repetitive, jumbled mess.
Piñata has some high points. “Harold’s” contains a great trunk-thumping beat that compliments Gibbs’ flow to a T. The song is reminiscent of ’90s hip hop and Gibbs’ influences shine through. Another song that stands out is the title track. Featuring an instrumental sample from the Notorious B.I.G song “Biggie,” Madlib creates a hypnotic groove that Gibbs and guests Domo Genesis, G-Wiz, Casey Veggies, Sulaiman, Meechy Darko and Mac Miller parade their skills all over.
The other 15 tracks teeter from mediocre to amateur. “Scarface” and “Deeper” start off the album but don’t contain that pizzazz needed to keep the listener’s attention. The beats are just OK, the hooks aren’t anything special and Gibbs lyrics at times are cliché. The rest of the album seems to fall into that same trap.
These two artists have made a name for themselves individually throughout their careers, but unfortunately together these two just don’t meld well. Both Gibbs and Madlib are talented artists, but instead of creating something new and original they relied on old tricks and, frankly, released a boring album. Given a listen– one or two songs might jump out at you but as a whole this is one Piñata filled with terrible treats.