Freddie Gibbs’ new album “$oul $old $eparately” is a new take on Gibbs’ sound that moves him closer to the mainstream. The album comes two years after Gibbs’ last release, “Alfredo.” Gibbs shines vocally on this project, something that isn’t new to his discography. Gibbs is a talented lyrical performer, so it isn’t any surprise that this album features impressive lyricism.
What is surprising is the musicality that is also featured throughout the album. This album has songs that even feature singing performances. Tracks “Too Much” and “Pain & Strife” feature slight vocal performances from Gibbs that are new and unlike any other songs he’s put out thus far.
These displays of Gibbs’ ability to make a hook that really shines is similar to the likes of Future and Drake, but in a sound that is similar to boom-bap. Gibbs does this so often that it becomes more and more casually a part of his discography. He continues to develop his sound despite having success with previous albums.
The rapper from Gary, Indiana, continues to prove to listeners that he is able to explore new soundwaves, despite his success with more boom-bap-inspired albums that he’s previously put out. Although, this doesn’t mean that he has completely strayed from the sound that has brought him so much success.
Tracks that are good examples of this include “CIA”, “Grandma’s Stove” and “Gold Rings.” All of these sound new and unique in their own respect, but they still fall back on some of the similar components of tracks the rapper previously released. These tracks reveal the main formula that Gibbs follows.
The rapper features soulful samples with drums that are reminiscent of 80s rap. His past albums have featured such sounds, and this newest addition to Gibbs’ discography features just the same. Sonically, not much has changed, other than the addition of more unique hooks.
What has changed, however, was the number of noteworthy features within the project as a whole. Features among the likes of Pusha T, Rick Ross, Moneybagg Yo, Anderson .Paak, Raekwon and various others. Gibbs usually doesn’t feature as many artists on his projects, so it’s a surprise that he would have so many features on this project.
The features add a lot to the album as a whole, making a stylistic difference from the norm as it relates to other albums the rapper has put out. Gibbs raps, in the same manner, he always would in his songs, but the features cut through this norm and add textural difference and uniqueness to each track they have.
Each feature provides something completely unique, it’s hard to hammer down one thing that the features actually do for each track, but holistically they make a new experience out of tracks that are similar to previous tracks, at least sonically.
If you could nail down one thing, it would be that these features transition Gibbs’ sound closer to the mainstream. In particular, the addition of hooks to songs is something that primarily takes the sound away from the more lyrically-rich sound listeners are used to and takes it to more pop-influenced rap.
The rapper has explored new sounds, new styles and new artistry that has formed this album and this new wave of music that Freddie Gibbs is putting out. The rapper continues to amaze with every release and if this album is any testament to the next wave of music that he releases, then there is plenty to be excited for in the future.