Freddie Gibbs has a great control of flow and a lot of great ideas. His new album You Only Live 2wice has some interesting ideas, but not many of them are really expanded upon.
The key point of You Only Live 2wice (and much of Gibbs' music) is the instrumentals. Gibbs has a thing for atmosphere that is dark and moody to create a dramatic and sometimes trippy background to his songs. There are plenty of dreamy, slow moments like the intro of 'Dear Maria' that can put you in a trance. The pulsing bass of the hooks in closing track 'Homesick' accentuate the curious piano that almost swallows up the vocals. It's interesting, and it does feel like a bit of a mixing problem, but it stands out unique.
The most interesting sound on the record is the opening track '20 Karat Jesus.' It starts off with a big bass synth and reverberating key synths as Gibbs keeps on an unstoppable flow. The dark, spiraling beginning section continues with an almost threatening tone to it. Halfway though, it completely shifts to something much more reverent and soulful. 'Amnesia' as a whole is also a very unique track, the instrumental relying on elements of melody (that are just fantastic) rather than a tone. The darkness of the track really sounds great with the haunting instrumental backing it.
You Only Live 2wice is by no means perfect. There aren't many moments that really stand out as something great. Every songs really establishes itself at the start then just clings to that for the rest of its run. Some tracks just get repetitive, like 'Phone Lit,' but still have the nice instrumental to back it. The atmosphere only means so much if you can't do anything creative with it after you've introduced it.
There are some interesting ideas in Freddie Gibbs' You Only Live 2wice, but not all of them are really fleshed out. Moments of brilliance are few and far between, but they do exist. There's not much going on within the deep atmospheres of the record, but the fact that they exist whatsoever is a refreshing sound. Gibbs needs to make everything interact in a more seamless way to really perfect this sound.
Favorite Tracks: Amnesia, 20 Karat Jesus
Least Favorite Track: Phone Lit
Rating: 72 / 100
Buy or listen to You Only Live 2wice here: