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$oul $old $eparately

by Freddie Gibbs

Released September 30, 2022 via ESGN / Warner Records

Reviewed October 13, 2022

Top tracks (based on community voting)
Dark Hearted (37%), CIA (34%), Feel No Pain (29%)

Gibbs' work with The Alchemist and Madlib proved to be cornerstone collaborations of the 2010's hip-hop scene. However, on the latest project, running out of things to talk about—or a straight up lack of needing to expand—proves redundant in the long run. No matter how much it works, there's only so much of it that it can be sat through. Your life is all you know, of course, but the imagination has got to serve some sort of purpose other than rinse and repeat, right? A lack of innovation or to a more severe degree, risk, comes through. Underwhelming sums it up; it feels forced at times, phoned in. Does Gibbs require a one-to-one partnership with a producer to pull the creative side of his persona to the forefront? Is an auteur necessary to steer the ship? $$$ is a decent album—far from bad—but nothing to write home about. It lacks that special something. A new challenge or spark of inspiration is hopefully on the horizon. – Peter (6.5/10)

Between Piñata (w/Madlib), Bandana (w/Madlib), and Alfredo (w/The Alchemist), Freddie Gibbs has three of the most celebrated hip-hop collaborations ever. While Gibbs’ catalog is much more extensive than just those three records, there’s something to be said about two artists bringing the best out of each other with those. Especially so when looking at Freddie Gibbs’ most recent efforts—Freddie (2018) and $oul $old $eparately (2022)—without a storied producer by his side. $oul $old $eparately isn’t without credentialed collaborators by any means; Madlib, The Alchemist, Kaytranada, DJ Paul—and more—lend beats to this project, while Anderson .Paak, Raekwon, Pusha T, and others lend features. Without the cohesiveness that one producer offers, we begin to see a pattern in which Gibbs’ one-dimensionality comes out stronger than ever. The hard-headed, coke-dealing, woman-stealing persona is one that he’s lived and expressed at every turn of his career. But $oul $old $eparately feels true to its title; the passion, the hunger, the soul, it just isn’t there. His flows generally steer in a more melodic direction over more traditional trap beats, lacking the rawness and intensity that Gibbs is more than capable of when he truly goes in. There’s nothing wrong with staying in your lane and sticking to a formula, as he often does with a combination coke-centric raps about the street life and his own toughness. But what separates the previously mentioned collabs from one another is that each brought new perspectives and methods of delivery for Gibbs’ gritty truths. $oul $old $eparately is just the same narratives being rehashed and repackaged in something much less formidable. – Dominick (6/10)

Hadley: 8.5/10 | Pax: 8.3/10 | DeVán: 8/10 | Jacques: 8/10 | Alan: 7.5/10

Cam: 7/10 | Peter: 6.5/10 | Dominick: 6/10 | Jared: 5/10

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