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Pinata

4.7 out of 5 stars 80 customer reviews

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Piñata [Explicit]
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Audio CD, March 18, 2014
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Editorial Reviews

Freddie Gibbs is the product of violent, drug-laden streets but unlike most rappers with similar resumes, he brings the block to the booth without inhibition or an exaggerated rap persona. Piñata, a 17 track collaboration with producer Madlib, is the best distillation yet of his transparent approach to making music, combining an at times stark honesty with electrifying talent as a lyricist and performer. Piñata is "a gangster Blaxploitation film on wax," says Gibbs, who came up on the streets of Gary, Indiana, the disregarded city previously best known for producing Michael Jackson. Here he is joined by Mac Miller, Earl Sweatshirt, Raekwon, Scarface, Domo Genesis, Ab-Soul and a host of others in setting his soliloquies of the streets alongside film snippets and dusted funk, soul and prog musical tapestries. While this is the latest in a series of single-artist collaborations for Madlib, after Jaylib (J Dilla), Madvillainy (MF Doom) and the street-centric O.J. Simpson with Detroit's Guilty Simpson, the pairing is unique as it is the first time for Gibbs working with just one producer. On Piñata, where Gibbs can shift from textbook lessons in robbing and drugging on trackslike "Scarface" and "Knicks," to perhaps the album's most personal song, "Broken," a collaboration with Scarface, who, along with Tupac, DMX and 50 Cent, make up the rapper's own Mount Rushmore of MCs ("You re getting a hurricane of all those motherf&%kers hitting you at once when you listen to Freddie Gibbs," he says). "Deeper," a Gibbs favorite and the third single from the album after "Thuggin'" (2012) and "Shame," (2013) is an ode to hip-hop in the mold of Common's "I Used to Love H.E.R."; "High," featuring Danny Brown, is self-explanatory and just what you would expect from Gibbs, Madlib and one of Detroit's finest; while on "Real," Gibbs addresses an old score just as Michael Corleone settled all family business on baptism day. As a producer, Madlib, quite simply, is music, and ten years into his career a time when other artists become comfortable Gibbs remains restless, focused, with an eye on the competition and their position relative to his ascent. This is because mentally, he s still on the corner hustling, which would be the downfall of the average rapper. With Piñata, Gibbs confirms that he is anything but average.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 18, 2014)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Madlib Invazion
  • ASIN: B00I9IEPKQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,582 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
I consider this a 5-star album for all sorts of reasons. Most importantly, I can listen to this entire album without skipping a single track. Each and every track is good in its own way, and that's hard to find in a lot of hip-hop albums these days. But Gibbs & Madlib don't drop any filler tracks, boring beats, or lame verses here- it's all quality through and through. Madlib's production is on point as usual, using interesting samples and smooth transitions. Gibbs is consistent on every track, and his style, reminiscent of old-school gangsta rap, is refreshing to say the least.

The pair aren't working alone, either, because there's a whole lot of guests in this party. The features range from Danny Brown (who did a great collab with Freddie on "The Return" off Danny's album "Old"), to Odd Future members Domo and Earl (I was surprised Gibbs had these guys, it's really cool). Mad respect to everybody who was involved with creating this music, you guys really did a number here.

If you are even remotely interested in hip-hop, buy this album. It's definitely one of my favorites in recent memory, and surely an album I will continue playing for quite some time.
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If you've heard Freddie Gibbs at some point over the past five or so years you've followed him. You listened to his to his projects. You were disappointed when he signed with CTE. But ESGN didn't disappoint. This feels like Gibbs' "official" debut. Madlib encompasses something along the lines of "grunge soul" and Gibbs swims along each beat like they were crafted after he laid his vocals. Nothing feels out of place. You'll listen to some songs over again just to try and pick up on the intricacy of what Madlib's put together and inadvertently catch another line Gibbs laid. This is a genuinely enjoyable, masterfully mixed, amazing album. It's hard. It's gritty. It sounds like early-mid nineties hip hop re-cut for 2014. Gibbs' pinnacle to date.
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Basically, this is a HARDCORE album. Freddie G and Madlib NEVER disappoint. This will probably be the most slept on hip hop album of the year....
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I would give this a five but the guest appearances besides Raekwon don't measure up. Mac Miller should never be on a street album again in his life. Madlib is a legend and proves it once again
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This is what I thought Kendrick's album was going to sound like. Kendrick was close but Freddie nailed it! Perfect, classic hip hop record, throwback to the 90's. There's no mainstream drops for this album, strictly made for the hip hop heads and underground circuits. I haven't actually purchased a full album for years until Pinata, and I did so out of support of a great project. Can't wait to hear his next album.
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buy this album is all i need to say. madlibs production is the closest we have to dilla and freddie gibbs does by far his best work. the features on this album are stellar with scarface, raekwon, ab soul, danny brown, domo genisis, earl sweatshirt, bj the chicago kid an mac miller. this is seriously a great record so go an buy it.
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Ever since Madvillainy Madlib has had my attention as a producer. His sound is so in your face with its samples and bass-heavy drums. I can only describe it as beautiful hip-hop. His production on Pinata is no different. Every song has a unique sound to it yet the album flows seamlessly. You'll hear a wide range of sounds, tempos, and sample variations with this album which is a good thing. As far as production, this album has got to be my favorite since Kanye's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. It's really that good.

I feel Freddie Gibbs is underrated as far as MCs go. He has been putting put quality underground gangsta rap music for years now but has still remained under the radar for the most part. Pinata is the strongest he has been lyrically on any project. He keeps topics diverse and not solely relating to gangster qualities (although there is still plenty of that intact). His storytelling is above par. His flow can get repetitive at times but infectious nevertheless.

Madlib and Freddie Gibbs proved themselves to be a partnership capable of greatness. This is a fantastic album with amazing production AND MCing. This might be an album that stays in constant rotation for a long time.
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The first 11 tracks of this album are rock solid, classic material. Every track has great production, classic Gibbs flow and content, solid features by Raekwon, Domo/ES, and (only slightly forgettable) Danny Brown. If these were the only tracks on the album, it'd be a little on the short side, but it'd probably be five stars. To be honest, when I bought this album I was really hoping I'd be able to rate the whole thing five stars, because it had "classic" written all over it being a collab with Madlib and with the big name features.

The thing is, in my opinion this album is 6 tracks too long. To be fair, it's a rare artist who can piece together a 15+ track album without there being any filler. Off the top of my head I can probably only name less than five who've done it. Unfortunately (despite my hopes), Gibbs didn't pull it off. After "Robes," it just feels like the quality drops off. In fact, "Robes" ends with a kind of weird 1:30+ interlude almost signifying a transition point in the album. I almost wonder if Gibbs actually did originally put together those first 11 tracks to be the album, but decided to throw in some extra B content on the tail end just to feed his fans some extra material. Either that or I'm missing a bigger picture here.

And to be honest, features like Scarface, Ab-Soul, Casey Veggies, Mac Miller, etc. look great on paper, but they just don't feel like they fit the Gibbs vibe. Ab-Soul's verse on "Lakers" seems uninspired to me, Meech (not a fan anyway) and Mac Miller just sound awkward on the title track--not necessarily in isolation, but it just doesn't mesh with the vibe. It feels like Gibbs just went more for banner type names to be featured on his album to grab attention instead of really hunting for the artists and verses that meshed with his style.
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