“A Scorched Earth strategy aims to destroy anything that might be useful to an enemy when retreating from a position. Any assets that could be used by the enemy may be targeted.”
Luxury drug dealer raps are more than just coke flips and plug talk. They’re layered with metaphors that allow us to peer into the psyche of some of the most overlooked yet resourceful individuals in music. Their lyrics echo mafioso machismo, and rappers like Freddie Gibbs deliver bars with a streetwise sense of strategy and grit. He’s stayed true to his ESGN roots using the same cunning; from the corner putting the proper bricks in place to solidifying his position in music, despite being ostracised and left to flame out years ago.
His recent performance in Sydney was like watching a phoenix rise from the ashes, if you knew how far he's come.
His Metro Theatre performance was authentic. Gibbs opened up with 'Freestyle Sh*t' and the trumpets used in the instrumental made the introduction feel like a reigning champ was entering the ring ready to contend his belt.
He made sure to open up the mosh pits before playing bass heavy tracks like 'Automatic', 'Death Row' and 'Situation', but this show wasn't just an all out new-school rager.
Gibbs kept his core fanbase happy by performing older tracks like 'Fuckin' up the Count' and demonstrated great mic control while doing so.
The group of people next to me were rapping along like they were personally reminiscing about their trap days. What baffled me most was that it was actually a group of middle age women professing their wrist game. Imagine seeing Nancy from your local Woolies supermarket screaming...
"BITCH I'M STRAIGHT BALLING, TRYNA MAKE A MILLION BEFORE THEY TAKE ME OUT AND NEVER FUCKING UP THE COUNT!"
'Half Mane Half Cocaine'
'Flat Tummy Tea'
'F*ckin’ up the Count'
He was clearly enjoying himself and felt comfortable. He told jokes in between tracks and showed off his comedic side while utilising all parts of the stage.
My only critique is that Gibbs' managemnt team probably should have opted for a venue with more space. Tickets sold out months before the show and could have easily increased their ticket revenue. I'm also certain that the people in the seated area of the theatre wished they were closer to the action. Regardless it was still a great performance.
I left the show with a sense of optimism for any person who's shown a propensity to change their habitual inputs in order to benefit themselves and others within their periphery. Successfully changing your behaviour requires either a continuous & conscious effort or an external stimulus so impactful that it forces you to adapt or perish.
At one point, Gibbs was dropped from his label and had beef with hip-hop legend Young Jeezy. He battled a lean addiction and a false rape accusation that left him wrongfully detained in Austria while on tour and faced a 10 year sentence if found guilty.
He managed to change his trajectory by working with the right people, reforming as an individual and acquiring all the proper assets prior to dropping Bandana.
For the Bandana project, Gibbs linked back up with the shadowy savant Madlib, who produced the whole album with technical precision from his iPad like f*cking Heisenberg handling test tubes. Gibbs also gave his manager Lambo the driver’s seat in regards to creative direction and his business ventures. Lambo has been able to take Gibb’s career to new heights by plugging together connections like George Jung in the 1970’s.
He got features from fellow pot-stirrer Pusha T, conscious rap superstar Yasin Bey (Mos Def), Black Thought, Killer Mike and a hook from R&B craftsman Anderson Paak. They complimented each other well and created a classic album in my opinion.
Up next for Gibbs and Madlib is the final instalment of their collaborative trilogy which has been titled Montana, but don't expect a release date anytime soon. Both have stated that it could be another 5 years before they put the project out; luckily Bandana has enough playback value to hold fans down until then.