Freddie Gibbs Brings His Raw Raps To Rough Trade In Brooklyn
Freddie Gibbs was the headliner last night at Rough Trade NYC in Brooklyn, headlining a performance that showed off why he's one of the most powerful and dexterous MCs on the planet right now. But for all the Gary, Ind. rapper displayed, the two younger artists on the bill, New Orleans rhymer Pell and Queens-based World's Fair MC Remy Banks, held their own as well.
Pell kicked off the show with a mix of singing and rapping that played to his versatility, tossing in lyrical references to Dr. Dre and his hometown down on the Bayou. He was his own DJ for the night, which would have led to a stop-start performance if he wasn't so energetic and animated, running through tracks such as "Ocean View 2.0" and "Kreation." He gave up a few minutes of his set to shouting out N.O., jamming along to The Big Tymers' "Still Fly" and Soulja Slim's "Slow Motion" before dropping the big, bass-y "Fresh Produce." Pell doesn't have a very wide vocal range when he slips into sing-rapping, but he doesn't push himself too far either, staying within his limits to get his tracks across. Set closer "Eleven:11" was delivered a capella initially, the first of many times that would crop up over the evening.
Remy Banks may not be as much of a familiar name to underground hip-hop heads as his crew World's Fair, but the Queens MC is the first from the crew to step out with solo material, and his performance last night proved he's coming into his own as an individual. With the full six-man collective in tow, Banks ran through tracks both familiar ("GLDCHN," "B.O.T.P.," "Sammy Sosa") and new ("7th Heaven"), putting a tougher, more street edge to his new music that World's Fair collectively hasn't displayed so far. Banks is prepping a new mixtape for the next few months, and is looking to be the first to make headway from the group as a solo artist.
But the headliner was Gangsta Gibbs, and Freddie wasted little time proving that he's an all-bars-no-frills rapper. Coming out to chants of "Fuck Police!" which continued throughout the set, Gibbs ran through tracks like "Lay It Down" and "Still Livin" before dipping into material from his latest LP Pinata, his joint album with Madlib that is a clear album of the year candidate. "Thuggin'" and "Deeper" were two of the album's standout cuts and he delivered them with force, the beat dropping in and out as he spit with intensity without slowing up for anything. When Gibbs goes full a capella for a track like "Rob Me A Nigga" that's so lyrically dense it's hard to even keep up he's great to witness, and tracks like "Kush Cloud," "Eastside Moonwalker" and "Shitsville" all got a similar treatment. On a night where bars ruled everything, Freddie Gibbs came out on top.