Rapper Freddie Gibbs and legendary Producer Madlib return to drop their second collaboration album Bandana, following up Piñata released in march of 2014. I personally found Piñata to be the best Rap album of 2014 meaning the five-year wait was excruciating. This LP, Bandana, consists of 15 songs having a length time of just over 45 min but, every song has a punch and there is no need for a skip. The very first track “Obrigado“ is a short intro track that sets the mood for what the rest of the LP will feel like. Right away you hear the crackling noise from sampling a record which is Madlib’s Style of producing. These samples range from Indian Bollywood movies to James brown to Freddie’s funny drunk uncle known as “Big Time Watts”. These Samples are not only interesting but, ear-catching and very well placed.
Madlib has a talent for making soulful samples make you feel warm, but at the same time make you bounce your head to the rhythm. A perfect example of this would be the fourth track “Crime Pays”. Listening to this song makes me feel like reflecting on old life choices one is glad they made. Don’t let this warm production fool you, Madlib still hits you with beats you want to blast in a car with two twelve-inch subwoofers. “Flat Tummy Tea” is straight to the point with its production. The track features lots of weird sounds all held together with strong bass, drum kicks, and snares. Take the 7th track “Fake Names”, a simple repetitive violin with hard kicks and bass lines makes for a great transition within the song changing the mood of the entire track in a faster pace making the listener know that the second half of the song displays a different point of view from Freddie’s verse.
Okay, I could keep going on and on about the production but, let’s talk about Freddie’s lyrics. First thing first, Freddie is also known as Gangsta Gibbs, meaning he keeps it G. On almost every track Freddie references what life was like growing up in his surroundings. Lots of thoughtful punch lines about selling drugs and the things that come with it; good and bad. Freddie’s lyrics are interesting and make you feel like you’re watching a short film about the dope life. Although Freddie can slow it down to fit the mood, the 11th track “Practice” Madlib gives the listener a heart fulfilling instrumental by sampling Donny Hathaway’s “Make It On Your Own’. Freddie matches Madlib with the same energy by reflecting on his affair with a girl who has a certain profession “ I went T-pain for her”. Freddie speaks on how he risks his family at home for the stripper he caught feelings for and to make matters worse he never thought about how both the girls would feel from his actions “Made a commitment to both of these women and never considering both of the feelings”.
Freddie Gibbs and Madlib are at the height of their careers and I feel like they both have mastered their talent and show what they can do on this record. This is a record where you want to look up the lyrics on Genius but, also want to pull up WhoSampled and spend hours investigating all the music Madlib put into his pot when producing this record. Give this album the time it deserves and if you like it… give Piñata a listen because I would pay a lot of money to be able to listen to it for the first time again.