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New Music: Curren$y, Freddie Gibbs & Alchemist

By Troy Hasselman, November 29 2018 —

There was no way this project wasn’t going to be good. In Freddie Gibbs and Curren$y, you have two veteran MC’s who have made and maintained a name for themselves with both their hard-hitting subject matter and virtuosic technique. The pairing is anchored by beats courtesy of the Alchemist, whose eclectic production has graced everyone from Mobb Deep to Lil Wayne to Kendrick Lamar across two decades behind the boards.

Fetti offers little in terms of hooks, instead focusing on the exchanges between Gibbs and Curren$y where they trade barbs, boasts and stories. The beats on these songs veer mostly towards the soul-influenced boom-bap that’s become Alchemist’s calling card over his career.

Fetti was recorded over two days in September and appears to be largely written over that period, judging by the recency of many of the references on the album, like the tribute to Mac Miller on closing track “Bundy & Sincere.” But the off-the-cuff nature of the project has little impact on its consistency, as all nine of its tracks deliver. Gibbs and Curren$y effortlessly spit verse after verse with the Alchemist perfectly supporting the pair’s chemistry.

These elements all land because they’re precisely what these three artists have done throughout their respective careers. With over 55 years of combined experience, Curren$y, Freddie Gibbs and Alchemist have maintained a strong level of quality across the countless mixtapes, albums and features. Consistency is the key word on Fetti and in describing any of the three involved.

There is something to be said for consistency in the dialogue surrounding hip-hop. The trio involved in Fetti have produced high-quality material for their entire careers with little sign of stopping, but are never names mentioned in “best rapper or producer” discussions.

These conversations tend to view rap greatness as similar to maintaining leadership within a politically volatile state. One rapper will have a short reign for a few years before being widely regarded to have “fallen off,” subsequently being replaced with another new best rapper. These discussions tend to focus on a specific era and applicable MC — mid-2000s Lil Wayne, late-’90s Jay-Z, or early-2000s 50 Cent — but rarely focus on a rapper’s full body of work. Artists who are widely praised for their consistency across a long career — Black Thought, Raekwon, Scarface, to name a few — or those involved in Fetti are certainly acclaimed yet still omitted when people talk about the GOATs. Instead they amass large, quietly brilliant bodies of work that build them a devoted following, though nowhere near the level of widespread acclaim and recognition afforded to artists who briefly topped the game.

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