#NerdSwag [Reviews]: CunninLynguists / Onyx / Freddie Gibbs & Madlib

  • (Piñata Cont…) I bet similar concerns were expressed when El-P partnered up Killer Mike. While Piñata doesn’t quite reach the plateau of last year’s masterful Run the Jewels record, this collabo works primarily because of the two distinctive styles. With Madlib providing the timeless fusion of funk, jazz, and soul, it was up to Gibbs to then find his own soul through his more straight-laced gangsta raps. FG doesn’t stray away rapping hard neither, despite the fact the emcee makes a conscious leap towards even harder introspection; talks of Gibbs’ own hood-to-industry growth, domestic issues, anti-bullshit, getting “High”, and even hoops take precedent over Madlib’s triumphant synths… 

  • (Cont.) While the whole album is a joyous ride through modern blaxploitation (hear “Knicks”), it’s the ultra-hype “Shitsville”, the organic grindhouse of “Real”, quote-fest of “Thuggin” (“Why the Feds worried bout me clocking on this corner
 / When there’s politicians out here gettin’ popped in Arizona?”), and the electric X-Files odyssey of “Uno” that do its damnedest to stand out. And if I could compare Gibbs to anyone on the rap planet, it’s Scarface — only turned up a couple notches; thus, it’s not ironic that the Gary-to-Cali emcee has not only a bloodshot of a song with that title, but the pleasure of hosting the legendary Geto Boy on “Broken”. Look, hipsters. You can put on the blindfold and take a whack at this Piñata all you want, but this Klingon of #NerdSwag shall remain a Top 5-10 record come year’s end. 4.5/5.

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