Freddie Gibbs, 'Str8 Killa' (Decon)

7
Str8 Killa
Critical Mass
Label: Decon

by Mosi Reeves

On "Rep 2 the Fullest," Gary, Indiana's Freddie Gibbs makes a simple, provincial claim: "Midwest street shit, I brought it back." But Str8 Killa offers a wealth of themes and styles, from the Tupac-quoting "National Anthem (F*ck the World)" to dope-boy tall tales to vintage double-time flows à la Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. Gibbs elevates this eight-song EP above '90s-gangsta-rap homage with his baritone-deep hauteur and studious lyricism. When he raps, "Every line I write is straight frostbite," on "The Coldest," you believe him.

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