$oul $old $eparately: Freddie Gibbs takes a victory lap on his latest album


“They said it couldn’t be done,” belts out the Norman Feels sample on the first track of $oul $old $eparately, Freddie Gibbs’ latest solo album. It’s a fitting introduction to his first album released under a major record label, for he’s come a long way since his humble beginnings growing up on the east side of Gary, Indiana. In 2012, his self-released mixtape Baby Face Killa attracted major attention amongst hip-hop publications for its revival and reinvigoration of the gangsta rap genre, and in 2014, he released his first collaborative studio album, Piñata, working with beloved underground producer Madlib to create what I would consider to be one of the top ten albums of the decade. His 2020 collaboration with The Alchemist even received a Grammy nomination for Best Rap Album–ultimately, Freddie’s on top, and he knows it.

There is no grand statement behind $oul $old $eparately, no great takeaway is hidden between Freddie’s effortless, technical bars. Instead, it’s a frolicking good time–a concept album about Freddie’s struggle to finish an album, secluding himself in a fictional casino to get away from his celebrity friends that try to interrupt his craft. Rick Ross, Offset, Pusha T, Anderson .Paak and others feature, adding tremendous contributions to already great tracks. Especially interesting is the variety of the album, combining relatively straight-ahead trap songs with more eccentrically produced pieces, crafted by the likes of Madlib and The Alchemist. Ultimately, it’s a new favorite of mine, and it’s apparent that Freddie’s career is only getting started.