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Initial Thoughts on Bandana: A non-review

9 Jul

freddie-gibbs-madlib-bandana-album-art

There are a lot of online reviews for the new Freddie Gibbs and Madlib collaboration, Bandana. I’ve read most of them. Some articles were bloated, text heavy articles that distracted from the subject matter and brought the focus onto the writer, some articles were short blurbs written by people who sound like they just started listening to rap music back in 2011, when they first discovered Kendrick Lamar. Some cats, were just plain disrespectful, saying that Madlib, without Freddie Gibbs, “might be just another ‘low-fi beats to  study to’ producer”. 

I’m not comfortable enough to write another goofy review on this album–nor do I think it is even necessary– because I don’t feel like I’ve studied it enough yet. I told myself it would take  at least 20 listens to have an informed opinion–and I’m only on my 14th listen–,but here is what I think so far.

 

Things I like:

  • Beats are incredible and all over the map; with multiple beats (most notably Fake Names)sandwiched in on the same songs. The production is A1, smooth, clean, but rugged (the biggest mindblower is that the beats were all made on an IPad. The skits and interludes are hilarious and bring the perfect amount of levity to an otherwise dark album. The album is perfectly sequenced and each song feels like a set up for the next. I’m not crazy about the first three songs on the album, but this is an album that must be digested in its entirety so I never skip them. Unlike, Pinata which comes out hard hitting and lets up periodically throughout the album, the first couple of tracks serve as exposition before things really begin with the single, Crime Pays. 
  • The guest appearances on the album are sparse, but effective. Palmolive seems to be a fan favorite , with Pusha T and Killer Mike (singing the hook–which I’m not crazy about when I’m honest about it) on a slow and soulful beat. Giannis, with Anderson Paak, and Education (featuring Black Thought and Yasiin Bey) strikes me as the two most powerful tracks.
  • The album hits a really sweet spot from Fake Names to Education (especially the back to back cuts, Cataracts and Gat Damn which feel so quintessentially L.A. to me)

 

Its a strong album. I’d like to both listen to Pinata and Bandana in order to get better perspective and context (I also can’t wait to hear the instrumentals version of this album). As of now its standing on a solid A-. My only criticisms are about a few verses that seem too similar to some Freddie Gibbs had written previously on other albums and guest appearances. It was the first time I’d heard Freddie get bested by other rappers on the same song.

Upon first listen, I was slightly underwhelmed and even got a little annoyed at a friend who suggested that Bandana “pooed” on Pinata. They are such different albums. Pinata is a slightly longer album (by 15 minutes), but one that can be listened to multiple times while driving in their vehicle (something I’m looking forward to with Bandana). Pinata feels harder, more street, with more bravado, while Bandana feels  more soulful and introspective. Pinata made me feel like Gibbs had pushed past the uphill part of the grind but was still not quite where he wanted to be yet. Bandana feels like he’s finally gotten to the top of the hill and is now reflecting on what it took to get there.

Regardless, it is a very important album that one can tell that a lot of thought went into every step of it being made. Gibbs says that he wrote the lyrics to the album at the same time as he was writing for the mixtape, Fetti (the under the radar mixtape he made with  Curren$y), and his solo album, Freddie. 

Rumor has it that this is only the second part of a MadGibbs trilogy in waiting. I hope for our sake it doesn’t take another 5 years for us to hear it.

Favorite Tracks:

Situations (hardest song on the album much like Thuggin’ on Pinata)

Fake Names (Possibly Freddie’s best display of rapping)

Gat Damn (My second favorite track on here. A great juxtaposition of a feel good beat and somber yet melodic lyrics)

Education (super heavy)

Giannis (My Third favorite track)

Least Favorite Tracks:

Half Manne Half Cocaine, Massage Seats (the only two tracks that still have yet to get more interesting with each listen)

BM

 

 

 

profile pic b mick  Bobby Mickey is the alter ego of writer and poet Edward Austin Robertson. When he isn’t involved in some basketball related activity, actively looking for parties to deejay or on the airwaves at KDVS, he is working on his basketball book, This a Good Ass Game.

 

 

 

 

 

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Brief Moments of Shared Experience available for purchase

29 May

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/brief-moments-of-shared-experience-edward-austin-robertson/1131659439?ean=9781634987165

 

More where that came from within the year. Stay Tuned.

 

~Mick

Tourist

5 May

She kissed me at the peak of the guitar riff crescendo

near the tail end of OK Computer.

I couldn’t tell you if I thought it was romantic or not,

my head was still spinning for my college sweetheart–

couldn’t even slow my mind down enough

to just shut up and enjoy the moment.

I’d run off to the next available vixen

and we’d barely had the chance to get to know the other person

we were just staying out all night getting our buzz on

and mugging down as we saw fit.

Yorke singing in my ear to “slow down”

while I was on her couch trying to navigate her tongue with my own.

 

~Edward Austin Robertson

Travelogues (For my friend Michelle)

20 Apr

There was a real bittersweet period of my life

from 2009-2014

where I constantly overthought things

and analyzed them until my brain was exhausted.

 

I salvaged my sanity through music, painting, writing,

playing basketball, and traveling.

Occasionally I sprinkled in a lady or two,

partly for psychic  needs,

partly for hormonal curiosity,

partly for a good story,

and mostly for vanity.

But like most medications,

it was too easy to get addicted to them

and they were better in small doses.

 

Places were no longer places,

they became memories.

Women were no longer fantasies,

they were opportunities–and eventually became people.

I learned how plunge, binge,

and withdraw—riding those rails across the Rockies,

scribbling emotions into notebooks

and running through possibilities

in my mind.

 

The smells and sounds of each city

told me everything I needed to hear.

Old diners and dive bars

interested me more than clubs and fancy restaurants.

They called “bohemian,

drifter, gypsy, deadbeat, hipster.”

But I wanted to know things.

I needed to see things.

So I learned to indulge, purge, withdraw, and observe–

while ping-ponging across the map

towards my next lesson.

 

 

 

~Edward Austin Robertson

Captured by the Moment

20 Apr

It could have all been a dream

created by a lungful of hashish,

but I couldn’t have imagined

an evening of weirder moments

than the ones I experienced that night.

A Robot Themed Wedding

was the draw.

And after taking a quick perusal around the bar,

I felt compelled me to propose

to my best friend’s girlfriend (with his permission of course)

and the rest is history.

But anytime one can join a Conga line

wearing a Darth Vader Halloween Mask,

dancing to programmed robots playing

“Hot Hot Hot”,

one doesn’t overthink the circumstances.

My only worry at the time was “how could I possibly top this?”

Which pretty much summed up my life up to that point:

Surreal, sublime, and absurd.
~Edward Austin Robertson

 

 

The Mystery From Mansfield

20 Apr

Her long legs and cute pearly whites

somehow escaped my attention

for most of the semester;

but when it was on,

it was on. And boy,

was it on.

The conversation was good.

She was surprisingly down to earth.

She coached volleyball and hoops,

and had yet to realize how attractive she really was.

 

 

Beastly and sensuous

all at once,

before I could figure out what was happening

it was over just as randomly

as it had started.

I couldn’t tell you when we stopped hanging out

it was such a blur of a few weeks.

There is even a good chance

that we only hung out a handful of times.

 

 

Who knows what happened? So much had changed

between the NBA Playoffs and Duke-Carolina 2006.

But the last time that I saw her,

I knew within the first 5 minutes

she wasn’t going to sleep with me.

Which I wasn’t too broken up about–

back then there were plenty of other ladies,

none of which were Duke fans.

 

~Edward Austin Robertson

 

Fork

19 Feb

It was clear to me that I’d hit a fork in the road

staring down at this naked rear end facing me

from the downward dog position

on my mattress in my filthy skid row apartment.

 

I was cognizant of the chance (at least in my mind)

to get back

at her husband and my ex girlfriend.

but my pettiness and spite

were not strong enough to mask

the odor repeatedly hitting my olfactory glands.

 

There’d be no washing this away

and there was no telling

what new lows awaited me

if I went through with it.

 

This was one of those moments of truth

where I would forever be defined

by my ensuing actions.

There would be no going back

if I decided to plunge

even further into the muddy ditch

that was becoming my life.

 

~Edward Austin Robertson