Favorite Track: "Crime Pays" Least Favorite: "Situations"
Bandana is a meeting of the minds. Legendary producer Madlib and accomplished MC Freddie Gibbs surprised the hip hop world in 2014 with their collaborative project; Pinata.
After the announcement that the lone effort would be evolved into a trilogy we received their new collaborative effort in Bandana. I don’t necessarily believe that Bandana is as dimensional, complex, and deep as some MadGibbs fans are making the album out to be. MadLib is a legendary producer and Freddie Gibbs is a legendary lyricist; the result is anything but disappointing. The duo doesn’t pad out Bandana with modern trap trends rather this thing is a grimey, raw, and refreshing rap effort that outshines many of its contemporaries. When great meets great and utilizes great features, the result is well.. Great. MadLib paints a stage on this album that can sometimes indulge in his usual soulful, Kanye inspired, genre crossovers but there are also moments where we see his beats take a complete left turn. There are times on this record where the hauntingness of it all can sound like a soundtrack to a horror movie. It’s sections like these where we really understand as a listener how carefully and particularly the producer is painting the stage for Freddie Gibbs. Moments on this record when Gibbs rhymes about fearing the loss of his child, his drug problem, or his issues with infidelity are perfectly complemented by instrumentals that sound reminiscent of his very mindstate while doing such. It’s like these two share a brain. This is only more impressive when MadLib boasts on Twitter about how he created the whole album using beats he made on his IPad. Bandana isn’t meant to be catchy, it isn’t worried about hooks or earworms. It’s replay value comes with its lyrical wisdom. You’ll find yourself saying “Wait, what did he just say” more often than you’d like to admit. This LP is a more than worthwhile follow up to Pinata. It’s more up-front and in your face than its presenter and overall it finds its strength in its consistency and tightly wound track list that doesn’t miss a beat. This thing is fifteen tracks long, and it stays enjoyable for all fifteen of them.