Freddie Gibbs Paints Songs on His New Madlib-Produced ‘Bandana’ Album
Freddie Gibbs could very well flourish as a stand-up comedian. This rapper got jokes. From his tweets ("I would wife Serena Williams, I wouldn't pull a Mos Def tho and marry [her] in 4 days tho" or "They got a recall on Skippy peanut butter, eat it and u might shit peanuts") to his hilarious Instagram stories full of memes and his daily antics, Gangsta Gibbs has a wild sense of humor on social media that resonates with his fans. His comical side also carries over to his rhymes.
The Gary, Ind. native’s new album, Bandana, the follow-up to 2014's Piñata LP, features stellar production from his longtime collaborator Madlib and the kind of reality-driven raps true to Freddie's experience—with his no-filter humor sprinkled in. These are raw cut raps. With the new project ready for the masses, Freddie hits the XXL office for our Masterpiece series to illustrate a few tracks from Bandana that are sure to have serious replay value.
First up, "Flat Tummy Tea," a song inspired by the popular detox tea promoted heavily by Instagram baddies. The track itself is seemingly two songs in one—Freddie goes hard with an alacritous flow over Madlib's knocking beat then slows it down when Madlib delivers a mellow groove. Freddie goes for a palette full of paint before he starts spitting lyrics from the track. "Gold body, my jeweler, he black mummy me/I be all in these bitches' stomach like Flat Tummy Tea," the 2010 XXL Freshman rhymes. "The song ain't really got nothing to do with no goddam Flat Tummy Tea, but I like Flat Tummy Tea..."
Freddie proceeds to pick up a red marker instead to start drawing a packet of Flat Tummy Tea, but then paints all over it. "Fuck that," the 37-year-old artist says. "But we did mention some real n***as in this muthafuckin' song, like Spike Lee. Shout out to Spike Lee. So, let's draw Spike Lee... I can't draw, Spike, but we gon' bring this shit to life... I know you be having them goofy-ass hat. You got them goofy-ass glasses and shit." The MC's attempt at drawing the famed movie director results in a funny caricature—Spike's signature glasses and hat included.
By now Freddie Gibbs has realized his artistic skills aren't as perfect as his rhymes, but he's pushing through, providing some witty remarks to boot. For his next creative undertaking, the rapper decides to tackle "Education," a song featuring "two legends," according to Freddie, who landed a new label deal with Keep Cool/RCA Records this year. Yasiin Bey and Black Thought collaborate with him on this superb rap track with dazzling production. So which artist will Freddie draw first?
"Yasiin Bey, OK," Freddie begins. "How you spell that shit? I think I know how to spell it. Yasiin Bey a.k.a. Mos Def. I like calling you Mos Def. I like both names. Both names is hard, but I like calling him Mos Def." A stick figure is what appears on the drawing pad next. E for effort, Freddie.
"Usually... you got a hat on or something," he continues. "Let me put a hat on you... cool little hat, ya dig.... I fuck with you, Mos Def. Put you a little shirt on or something, you know what I mean, some clothes... Can't have you out here nekkid, ya dig."
For his attempt at Black Thought, Freddie squeezes out some more paint to get the perfect skin tone and even adds The Roots member's signature beard. And what appears to be a sign of confidence in his drawing skills, Freddie throws in a stick figure of The Roots drummer Questlove for good measure. "I wish you woulda played drums on this shit," Freddie affirms.
Another Bandana track that combines Freddie's love for sports and rap is "Giannis," inspired by Milwaukee Bucks basketball player Giannis Antetokounmpo, and featuring the talents of Anderson. Paak. He tries to draw the Ventura entertainer first. "You light-skin, but I'm gonna make you a little brown," Freddie begins. "You be wearing cool hats. You always got a hat on... That's Anderson. Paak. He's always smilin' too... Let me make sure you got a big, big smile."
So why did Gangsta Gibbs pay homage to Giannis Antetokounmpo with the title of this song featuring Bollywood-sampled production? "The name of the song is 'Giannis,'" Freddie explains of the track, which finds him spitting big facts about the music business. "I ain't really have no title for the shit. We just made it and it was beautiful. I said something in it, I said, 'Real Gs move in silence like Giannis...' When I think about the song all I could think about is like Anderson .Paak and Giannis Antetokounmpo. That's how you say that n***a name? I forgot. So we gon' draw you, Giannis.... You a big muthafucka so you prob one of the biggest n***as I ever seen in my life, you know what I'm sayin'? You prob gon' take up the whole shit." Freddie sticks to his word by drawing Giannis larger than life.
Watch Freddie Gibbs paint the songs on his new Bandana album while giving some hilarious commentary above.
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