Freddie Gibbs falls short of the mark on $oul $old $eparately

Rating:

Over the past decade, Freddie Gibbs has built himself up as one of this generation’s most consistent rappers. His records with hip-hop legends Madlib and Alchemist fused Gibbs’ fantastic flows with endlessly creative production to create modern classics of hardcore rap. $oul $old $eparately is his fifth solo album, and his first released under a major label since he signed to Warner Records in late 2020. It fails to capitalise on his previous efforts, delivering a wildly inconsistent set of pop and gangsta rap tracks. 

Likely benefiting from the support of a major label, the featured artists on this album are ridiculously good on paper. Along with regular collaborators Madlib and Alchemist, Gibbs enlists both legends (Scarface, Raekwon, Pusha T) and celebrated modern artists (Anderson .Paak, Kaytranada). Unfortunately, these collaborations are not all hits. This is either due to artists sounding like they’re not giving 100%, or just not being talented enough to keep up with Gibbs. 

His flow is also noticeably awkward

A prime example of lacklustre features would be on ‘Lobster Omelette’ with Rick Ross. Now a three-time collaborator with Gibbs, Ross should be a sure bet on any song he’s featured on. However, on this track he sounds bored, reciting the same lines about being “addicted to diamonds” and “counting bodies like bottles at parties”. Although it’s hardly original for him, the content and wordplay of the verse are strong. The real problem is the delivery. Not only does Ross rap like he’s going through the motions, but his flow is also noticeably awkward, as he sounds like he’s getting more and more ahead of the beat as the verse progresses. 

Alternatively, Gibbs shines more on the solo tracks in the album, notably the excellent ‘Space Rabbit’. On its own, the eerie instrumental is one of the album’s highlights, trading the booming bling trap beats of ‘Too Much’ and ‘Pain & Strife’ for a much more atmospheric vibe. And it’s perfect for him, as it’s subtle enough to compliment his flow and lyrics without getting in the way too much. The Jeff Ross cameo at the end of the track is extremely goofy yet simultaneously adds to the concept and narrative of the album in an entertaining way. 

This album feels more like a victory lap than any others in his discography

The album’s concept (which was expanded on in hilarious skits and promos for the album) is that Gibbs is stuck in a hotel room in the fictional ‘$$$ Hotel Resort & Casino’. While he tries to finish his album, his friends are constantly calling him to get high and party. While fun, and added onto various skits (some funnier than others), the concept’s importance to the album is questionable and seems shallow. 

In theory, though, its integration is coherent in Gibbs’ discography. Moving from his drug-laced bars on independent records like Piñata and Bandana into a more commercial gangsta/pop rap direction makes sense for his major label debut. There is also a considerable mafioso and gangsta rap presence throughout the album, as demonstrated by the references to “Training Day Denzel” and Cosa Nostra on the vicious second track, ‘Blackest in the Room’. He retains his soul and usual themes, but this album feels more like a victory lap than any others in his discography. However, this victory lap is undoubtedly deserved given his now-legendary status in the rap game. 

As for the lyrics, throughout his career, Gibbs’ often-hard-hitting flows have often distracted from his even harder-hitting bars, and this album is no exception. This is especially true near the end of the album. On ‘Grandma’s Stove’ Gibbs pours his heart out in a way rarely heard in his music. The hook is one of his bleakest, with Gibbs rapping “I smoke a blunt to take the pain out / And if I wasn’t high, I’d probably try to blow my brains out”. It catches you off guard, especially on an album like this, where it seems the excesses of the $$$ hide deeper traumas and murky waters underneath. 

On the whole, although this latest LP is disappointing by his standards, it’s far from a disaster. Even with the mixed bag of beats and features, Gibbs’ rapping is still a constant. This makes $oul $old $eparately seem more like a first stab at the major label rap project, letting Gibbs experiment with this new format while taking full control of the creative process. And who wouldn’t grant him that?

Comments (31)

  • The vagina god

    For fuck sake. Ive been listening to Gibbs since around 2012 when i first heard BFK. In all honesty i didnt like the album at first, maybe it was because of the money bagg yo feature. After going through each song a couple of times it grew on me. This album is a gem. Freddie may be the most underrated rapper to ever do it. Blackest in the room genius. Grandmas stove, genius. 80% of the songs on the album are bangers. This guy needs to play it back, put a dick in his ear and fuck what he heard.

  • He said he done get off his dick good to me don’t know who tf wrote this but obviously you not living that type of lifestyle so stop trying to judge just shut up go to something else to make yourself feel about who you are

  • This review make non sense. Who ever wrote it is not familiar with Gibbs music and missing facts and information.
    Just to mention number of albums he delivered and most of collaborations on album are people that Gibbs collaborating from years. It doesn’t matter did you like album or not that’s individual opinion but if you writing something for open public make sure that you writing facts and not just your assumptions.

    • You must not be familuar with Freddie Gibbs music. The writer of this article is spot on. This poppy rap album aint Gibbs and this is totally kinda a fail compared to his previous work. This album aint it. The direction is all over the place.

    • You must not be familuar with Freddie G music. The writer of this article is spot on. This pop rap album aint Gibbs and this is totally kinda a fail compared to his previous work. This album aint it. The direction is all over the place.

  • IsKanyeCrazy?

    The other comments disregarding the greatness of Jim Jones is harsh to say the least. I thought the review was thoughtful, critical in parts but also gave Gibbs his flowers where deserved. In my humble opinion, the album seemed, in part, experimental, but had nuances of the Gibbs we all know and love. Being part of a major label always has an impact on creative direction and I think Jim Jones has touched upon this. Overall, great review!

  • What a dead take. The position of a critic is that of comfort, I’d like to see Mr Delcroix here publish an album with such a star spangled roster as Mr Gibbs. Once he’s done that then he can speak his mind. Until then, let the artists make art and let the sheep be sheep. An unsatisfied grumpy student has no place in a renowned publication such as the boar.
    L + Ratio + dead take + cringe + you fell off + who asked + stay mad + cry about it + L again + Ratio again + any askers + touch grass + final ratio

  • This review is great and informative but YB better

  • This was a wonderful review.
    To the people he is greatness.
    To the French he is Délcroix.
    To me he is a journalist.

  • if you took out a couple key nonsensical sentences, you’d have a positive review here

    and a good review

    no this isn’t Piñata 2 or Alfredo 2, but clearly you don’t listen to Gibbs outside the tracks you discovered on twitter.

    • i appreciate that boss. what sentences in particular didnt make sense/were shit may I ask?

      ur right that its not pinata or alfredo 2, and im glad it isnt honestly, its great to hear freddie experiment with new sounds and styles (even tho I thought some of his singing was kinda cringe). i was just personally disappointed w/ the overall consistency & quality of the tracks.

      however, there’s still some good shit in here (zipper bags, gold rings, space rabbit, rabbit vision in particular)

    • Man coming from a true FG fan for years. This album is below standarr FG. He did miss the mark on this one. Its got a few decent tracks but overall this album as a whole sucks. Very disaooointed because I know what FG can do.

  • PocketRocketFoxx

    Clearly we weren’t listening to the same album, I felt that this was nothing short of great! Top to bottom. He showed how diverse of an artist he is, not only that he also displayed that he has story telling capabilities, and has perfected his flow. So I 100% disagree with this take on $$$.

    • Are you kidding ? I got every albun mix tape and video Video in my computer. Im proud to say Im a FG ultra fan from str8 killa no filler to ESGN AND before. I cinsider myself an expert on FG music. And the writer is right. Its poppy and this aint Gibbs. I TRIED to force myself to like this album but its close to trash. Its a few ok songs on it but overall its not a good album. Iwould even except it if it was at least half as good of his previous work …and im talking 8 years back. We gotta be honest with ourselves. This aint it. Maybe you new fans that just started listening to him mite feel this album is good. But for us day 1 fans we know better. This disappointing

  • PocketRocketFoxx

    Clearly we weren’t listening to the same album, I felt that this was nothing short of great! Top to bottom. He showed how diverse of an artist he is, not only that he also displayed that he has story telling capabilities, and has perfected his flow. So I 100% disagree with this take on $$$. I’m

  • I 100% disagree with the critic. Album gets 5/5
    the song with Pusha T is crazy good. phuck the critics

  • You can’t be serious, every project Gibbs drops gets progressively better. This album is 🔥. I’ve been listening to him since Cold Day in Hell and you can hear the growth in his content and style.

  • KoooLeee Hai

    Soul Sold Separately album is another classic album by Freddie Gibbs I Believe His Last Album was Better but this has a different feel he step outside the box a little and show he can make a different type of sound and styles.🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

  • Whoever reviewed this know nothing about music $$$ is a solid project

  • I agree with Marv, Mikey, Me and Ali. This critic knows nothing. $oul $old $eparately is solid from beginning to finish. Definitely best album this year.

  • Who wrote this review, Jim Jones?

  • This review is comically trash😂😂😂

  • This critic should be doused in gasoline.

  • You don’t know shit about hip hop. Don’t write another review. You don’t know shit. Freddie Gibbs has album of the year

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.