Currensy, Freddie Gibbs & The Alchemist
Fetti (released Oct. 31, 2018)
I’ve been doing this album review thing for a very long time – this year marks one full decade, in fact – so it’s no surprise that I’m often hit with the same questions time and again about my reviewing process.
Exasperated fans, usually after I’ve just finished flame-broiling one of their faves in a review, hit me with this one a couple of times a month:
“What makes a good album to you?”
That’s usually followed by a lot of cussin’ and wishing death upon my unborn children, but let’s stick to the format.
What makes a good album is pretty simple – great rappers backed by great beats with minimal filler.
If more albums were as seamless as Currensy, Freddie Gibbs & The Alchemist’s Fetti, my job would be so much easier and my DMs wouldn’t look like a fallout zone.
Allegedly recorded over the course of a couple of days, Fetti is about as no-frills as they come. Alchemist digs in the crates to drum up the darkest, dustiest samples he can find while Gangsta Gibbs and Spitta cut loose. It’s the simplicity that makes this project so endearing.
Opening track “Location Remote” sets the tone – a creeping track backed by eerie chants set the stage for the starring duo: “I’m in a location remote, Ivory Coast/Tryna get high as I can go, the glass ceiling broke/Its never over, sole controller, all our chains golder,” quips Spitta, with Gibbs coming through in the clutch: “I rep the pack like I’m Stunna Man/Legend in this b****, might do Coachella as a hologram.”
The chemistry is undeniable. On “New Thangs,” Spitta opens his verse bragging about his “white and yellow Airmax as I step out my Lac.” Minutes later, Gibbs comes through “rockin’ Virgil Airmax, off-white cook crack.” It’s no coincidence – Fetti is filled with these subtle touches, showing that it’s indeed a collaborative project, and not some copy/paste job. The synergy is palatable.
Both Currensy and Freddie are at the top of their games, but more often than not, it’s Gibbs who steals the show. Freddie drips swag on “Now & Later Gators,” giving us another glimpse of his R&B playboy persona over pimped-out instrumentation. And then he really goes for the jugular on “Tapatio”:
You ain’t eat with us, you ain’t sleep with us
Must of shot .223 with us
Pack ran outta Ack, n****
You ain’t never fiend for that lean with us
It was stomach aches, heartbreaks
Warrants off the missed court dates
Eviction notice, bout to call the county
Said the rent about a million months late
That’s not slight to Currensy, it’s just that Fetti gives Gibbs more opportunity to roll dolo (“Now & Later Gators,” the intimidating “Willie Lloyd”). When he does get the stage to himself, he more than makes the most of it, as evidenced by the criminally short “No Window Tints.”
In this age of musical excess, Fetti’s brevity might turn off fans spoiled by bloated 90-minute “playlists.” It’s only nine tracks deep with all but one song clocking in under three minutes. But this project is all about quality, not quantity. In less than 30 minutes, Gibbs, Spitta and Alchemist chef up a lean album that plays to their strengths – furious wordplay and haunting, memorable production.
When it comes to making a good album, these three make it look so easy.
Best tracks: “Now & Later Gators,” “Tapatio,” “Willie Lloyd”
4 stars out of 5