One might think a high powered collaboration made up of Freddie Gibbs and Madlib would produce a fiercely competitive assortment of vicious street rhymes over zany beats. The motivated Gibbs coming off of his studio debut ESGN has the itch to flow, and with legendary emcee and producer Madlib on the keys, the beats give just enough creative juice to elevate Gibbs's flows a little. In the end, what has been cranked out of the factory is a Piñata album that is essentially an ordinary thug party over good Madlib beats. Inspection reveals little hip hop advancement. It is a treat consisting of Gibbs's dollar store, gangsta candies served on a fine silver platter forged by Madlib himself. No offense to Gibbs but too much lyrical time on Piñata is spent having a good time flowing rather than crafting new types of rhymes, reaching out and beyond, and sending a progressive message. Having said that, one great technique that Gibbs uses here is to not hold back, sugar coat, or mince words in busting loose on his verses. He is pleasantly candid and uncensored in delivering his unadulterated product. Overall, Piñata is a decent album that needed more blows to explode that colorful, hanging box of goodies.
March 30, 2014