Album review: Freddie Gibbs’ ‘Shadow of a Doubt’

Mike Pizzo

Three half stars

Freddie Gibbs Shadow of a Doubt

As far as drug rap goes, Gary, Indiana’s Freddie Gibbs is on the stronger end of the spectrum. His lyrical content is light years ahead of the simplicity of his ex-boss Young Jeezy, though he lacks the cleverness of say, Pusha T. But Gibbs doesn’t really need to rely on punch rhymes when his delivery, flow and cadence are so ridiculously airtight. There are two versions of Freddie—one that prefers the lo-fi, sampled beats of Madlib, as heard on last year’s Piñata, and another that plays more toward the modern sound of today’s scene. The latter’s the one that dominates Gibbs’ new project, Shadow of a Doubt, for better or for worse. At times, it really works, when employing brooding beats like “F*ckin’ up the Count” or slow Cadillac rollers like “Careless” or “McDuck” which find him melodically adopting his style to the beat. Yet over-the-top tracks like “Mexico” and “Packages” pander too much to the now sound of Young Thug, Future, etc. The best moment takes it back to basics, when Gibbs spars with The Roots’ Black Thought over a Bob James’ “Nautilus” sample on “Extradite.” Hardly groundbreaking, but if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

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