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Freddie Gibbs & Madlib | Bandana

The hip-hop duo's disc is a meeting of minds that sidesteps the sophomore slump.

WHO ARE THEY? 1 | The gruff gangster-rapper born Frederick Tipton, comin’ straight outta the mean scene of Gary, Ind.; and 2 | The prolific experimental DJ, producer and serial collaborator whose real name is Otis Jackson and who comes from the sunny streets of Oxnard, Calif.

WHAT IS THIS? Their second album together, the long-awaited followup to their acclaimed 2014 debut Piñata, and most crucially, a stem-to-stern stunner that deftly and defiantly sidesteps the sophomore slump.

WHAT DOES IT SOUND LIKE? A brilliant meeting of the minds that perfectly balances Gibbs’ streetwise rhymes and raspy, laid-back menace with Madlib’s envelope-pushing sonics and eccentric soundscapes.


HOW SHOULD I LISTEN TO IT? With the bass thumping, the Jeep jumping, your head nodding and your libation of choice at the ready.

WHAT 10 WORDS DESCRIBE IT? Flowing, funky, freewheeling, complex, trippy, cerebral, skewed, expansive, insistent, intoxicating.

WHAT ARE THE BEST SONGS? Well, you could start with the boldly stylish singles Flat Tummy Tea and Crime Pays — or the equally strong cuts that feature cameos from Pusha T and Killa Mike (Palmolive), Anderson .Paak (Giannis) and Yaslin Bey and Black Thought (Education). But really, there are no duds here. And none of those VIPs upstage the principals.

WHAT WILL MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY SAY? ‘Why would these guys made albums with anybody else?’

HOW OFTEN WILL I LISTEN TO THIS? So frequently you might worry that eventually you’ll get tired of it. You won’t.

IF THIS ALBUM WERE A PRIZE FIGHT, WHAT FIGHT WOULD IT BE? Ali vs. Frazier III. AKA The Thrilla in Manila. AKA the greatest rematch in history.

SHOULD I BUY, STREAM OR STEAL? It’s worth every penny. Plus, I wouldn’t like my chances if I took money out of Freddie Gibbs’ wallet.

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