(By: Tommy Rodriguez)
Imagine the setting: class has 15 minutes left of free time before the bell rings, and there is dead silence. As I refresh my Twitter page for the 3rd time in a minute, a new tweet from Indiana rapper Freddie Gibbs materializes. “New sh*t w/ Madlib” he says. Below is a link to a new track, titled “Flat Tummy Tea”. A taste of what’s to come on Freddie Gibb’s and Madlib’s highly anticipated collaboration, Bandana? I had to click.
I had listened to the track 5 times in a row before the bell rung, and 7 times more before school ended. This is an excellent track, and is making me giddy for what Bandana can bring in its thugged out ambition.
“Flat Tummy Tea” is a typical Freddie Gibbs joint on a surface level: a short, punchy, and direct rap battering ram consisting of mountains of drug references, witty one liners, and a flow as fast as a sucker punch. The writing here is surprisingly unconventional, however, as Freddie utilizes two refrains on the two beats of the track. His performance is electric on the first half, matching the speed of Madlib’s wonderfully crisp guitar samples and swift drums with his proclamations of rap dominance and mentions of historical white abuse (which all seems to further strengthen his resolve to sell drugs. The first half is an explosive beginning, and makes the case that Freddie can dominate simply off bravado alone, let alone his nasty punchlines and hilarious use of the Flat Tummy Tea brand in the hook.
The second half, coming after a beat switch only a mastermind like Madlib can perfect, is equally impressive in Gibb’s presence, but is more slow paced to match the rhythmic percussion, shrill synth patches, and subtle tones. The brutality only gets more direct in Gibb’s bars, amusingly comparing his four groupies to a game of Connect 4 while proclaiming his drug game can knock “White Jesus off his White Horse”. The beat is grimy but groovy, matching the suave gangsterisms that Gibbs flexes like the jewelry he’s flashing with pride.
I have no problems with this track. The concurrent sense of humor and power Gibbs injects into his lyrics burst to life over Madlib’s two excellent instrumentals here. The songwriting allows for memorable hooks, great one liners, and a flow that matches the controlled chaos of the beat. If this is just an appetizer of Bandana, I can’t wait for the entree!