Record Label: Madlib Invazion
Madlib’s Rock Konducta – the first of two rock-inspired entries in the producer’s long-running Beat Konducta instrumental series.
Madlib announced his Rock Konducta album with a limited edition 45 made specifically for sale at the Zamrock Live! Madlib Medicine Show in San Francisco in ealry 2013. It was a fitting place to make the debut, as his previous Beat Konducta in Africa album was heavily inspired by Africa’s vibrant 70s rock scene, with a specific focus on Zambia’s Zamrock.
Rock Konducta – which will be presented in two LP volumes – is the fifth installment in Madlib’s Beat Konducta series. Previous entries include: Beat Konducta : Movie Scenes, Beat Konducta: in India, Beat Konducta: Dil Cosby and Dil Withers Suites and Beat Konducta in Africa.
Rock Konducta grabs its source material from various worldwide rock scenes from the 60s through the 80s, from American psychedelia to Germany’s krautrock to acid-soaked Spanish prog to synthy, early-80s oddities. Tied together by Madlib’s unique sensibility, these scenes coalesce into a new whole, and open the forum for the question: if these 26 tracks are his introduction, where will he lead with Vol. 2?
Following up Freddie Gibbs & Madlib’s Pinata – this EP contains exclusive tracks not available on the album. “Knicks,” in remixed form, now features a new verse by Gibbs alongside Action Bronson, Joey Bada$$ and Ransom. The b-side, “Home,” features BJ The Chicago Kid – the velvet voiced vocalist from the duo’s earlier “Shame” – and Madlib’s two-part soul-flip carries Gibb’s narrative about a traveling man’s disregard for his woman at home. Both sides are completed by previously unheard Madlib instrumentals.
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Following the launch of two critically- and street-acclaimed EPs, and a single released in conjunction with television network Adult Swim, Madlib and Freddie Gibbs return with a final EP launch before they release their long-awaited collaborative album, Piñata. Anticipation is high. MTV calls the duo “ferocious” and says “Expect vocal fireworks to ensue.” Complex goes further, saying, “If you're looking for a darkhorse candidate for 2013's Album of the Year, consider the soon-to-be-released Freddie Gibbs and Madlib collaboration...Gibbs is easily one of the most underrated rappers in the industry today, boasting nearly unparalleled technical abilities, along with some of hip-hop's rawest storytelling...” The Deeper EP delivers on this promise, and more. Gibbs showcases the yin and yang of heartbreak and anger on the title track, in a lovelorn narrative that meshes perfectly with the weepy strings and insistent rhythm of Madlib’s beat. We haven’t heard something like this in rap music since Nas’ “One Love,” nearly twenty years ago. The B-side, “Harolds” – exclusive to this EP – gives Gibbs a chance to ride some low down Beat Konducta-fueled funk in a nostalgic ode to the Chicago chicken-shack that served as the backdrop to many of his seminal life experiences.
Freddie Gibbs is the product of violent, drug-laden streets but unlike most rappers with similar resumes, he brings the block to the booth without inhibition or an exaggerated rap persona. Piñata, a 17 track collaboration with producer Madlib, is the best distillation yet of his transparent approach to making music, combining an at times stark honesty with electrifying talent as a lyricist and performer. Piñata is “a gangster Blaxploitation film on wax,” says Gibbs, who came up on the streets of Gary, Indiana, the disregarded city previously best known for producing Michael Jackson. Here he is joined by Mac Miller, Earl Sweatshirt, Raekwon, Scarface, Domo Genesis, Ab-Soul and a host of others in setting his soliloquies of the streets alongside film snippets and dusted funk, soul and prog musical tapestries. While this is the latest in a series of single-artist collaborations for Madlib, after Jaylib (J Dilla), Madvillainy (MF Doom) and the street-centric O.J. Simpson with Detroit’s Guilty Simpson, the pairing is unique as it is the first time for Gibbs working with just one producer. On Piñata, where Gibbs can shift from textbook lessons in robbing and drugging on tracks like “Scarface” and “Knicks,” to perhaps the album’s most personal song, “Broken,” a collaboration with Scarface, who, along with Tupac, DMX and 50 Cent, make up the rapper’s own Mount Rushmore of MCs (“You’re getting a hurricane of all those motherfuckers hitting you at once when you listen to Freddie Gibbs,” he says). “Deeper,” a Gibbs favorite and the third single from the album after “Thuggin’” (2012) and “Shame,” (2013) is an ode to hip-hop in the mold of Common’s “I Used to Love H.E.R.”; “High,” featuring Danny Brown, is self-explanatory and just what you would expect from Gibbs, Madlib and one of Detroit’s finest; while on “Real,” Gibbs addresses an old score just as Michael Corleone settled all family business on baptism day. As a producer, Madlib, quite simply, is music, and ten years into his career—a time when other artists become comfortable—Gibbs remains restless, focused, with an eye on the competition and their position relative to his ascent. This is because mentally, he’s still on the corner hustling, which would be the downfall of the average rapper. With Piñata, Gibbs confirms that he is anything but average.
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