Indiana’s finest Freddie Gibbs turned in one of the best 40 rap albums of 2015 with his third LP Shadow Of A Doubt. Dude can rock over damn near anything, from nostalgic sample-driven Madlib beats to the most popular of trap aesthetics. Even when he adapts a common triplet cadence or sing-song flow the lyricism is on point. Gangsta Gibbs’ versatile approach is front and center on two new loosies called “Dead Presidents Freestyle” and “Hot Boys.”
The “Freestyle” is not a really a freestyle at all, but not in the sense that he’s trying to pass off pre-written rhymes as some kind of impromptu brilliance. It’s also not a renewal of Ski Beatz’s classic instrumental from Jay-Z’s heralded Reasonable Doubt. It’s a fully developed lyrical onslaught, complete with a hook, about getting money by any means necessary over a chill trap excursion. This joint could have easily made Shadow Of A Doubt quality wise, but would have been a weird extra appendage on that body of work sonically.
“Hot Boys” is somewhat of an ode to Cash Money. The beat is driven by a nod to Mannie Fresh’s triumphant horns. Gibbs repeats the line “I ball like I grew up in the ‘Nolia,” referencing New Orleans Magnolia projects that Lil’ Wayne constantly shouts out. He also shouts out Juvenile: “I’m 400 degrees on the corner.” But once the acknowledgements are out of the way, Gibbs goes in as usual. He uses a locked in rhythmic flow packed with slick wordplay and similes to detail exactly how he gets his. Listen to both tracks below.
Shadow Of A Doubt is out now on ESGN.