1985 – [Freddie Gibbs] & [The Alchemist]

The Alchemist has always been one of my favorite producers of all time, and I know that’s not an unpopular opinion. He just has a wild way of approaching beat making from an outsider looking in perspective, using various samples and old school sounds combined with other off the wall noises to create some of the most complex yet impressive instrumentals in the game. Freddie Gibbs has also impressed me and many others for around a decade at this point, and he hasn’t slowed down whatsoever since entering the scene. His deep, suave voice mixed with his insane lyrical abilities have kept him on the radar of any sane rap fan since his inception, and it appears as if he’s not even close to finished. He and Al decided to join forces for an entire mixtape entitled Alfredo, a loose mashup of the duo’s names, that’s set to release tomorrow, May 29th. Although this is brand-new news to me, I instantly became excited because I already know how insane this collaborative effort is going to be.

In order to support the hype that is going to escalate ever so quickly since this announcement, the tag team decided to drop a single called “1985” and a music video to accompany it. Not unlike some other Alchemist-produced songs, it begins with a vocal clip from a classic movie before going into the actual beat. This instrumental is built through valiant, eye-catching electric guitar chords alongside simplistic yet impactful percussion and drums. Although it’s not overly flashy or showy, it’s an extremely appealing base that allows Freddie so much freedom to proceed in whichever direction he pleases. I have to admit, I got goosebumps after listening to his words right off the bat.

He switches flows up a few times, each one being quicker or more intricate than its predecessor, and what’s even more impressive is that you can understand every single word he’s speaking. Normally someone talking so quickly would have no choice but to mash words together in order to stay on rhythm and make it sound good, but Freddie just has veteran skills that don’t require any lyrics to be manipulated in order to fit the beat. He’s not lying when in one of his last lines, he says his flow is God level and compares it to Jay-z. It truly transcends almost anyone else you could think of in the industry, and it’s one of those things you have to hear for yourself to truly understand. Throughout his extensive verse, Freddie references pop culture at times while also talking abundantly about drug dealing and violence in a plethora of different ways.

The visual begins with a skit and opens on a panoramic scene in a desert setting. The filter on the lens makes the sky almost look green as we see Freddie walk in the scene from afar. This setting reminds me somewhat of the dessert in Breaking Bad, as it has similar vibes throughout the entire visual. It turns out that Gibbs is meeting up with Al to talk business, as they dap each other up in the middle of this barren landscape, trying to act discretely about whatever it is they’re talking about while decked out in some sharp, dressy suits. Certain shots flash to a beaker of bubbling liquid, and although I’m not positive, this is most likely the drugs they’re referencing throughout the song.

As they proceed to discuss business through a variety of code words and other unclear phrases, they mention burying a body anywhere in this desolate area, claiming that no one’s going to find it anyways. A little more comical banter between the two unfolds before the song actually begins. During Freddie’s verse, Al stands in his rearview as he proceeds to go off. Throughout this portion, faded images of the topics he’s rapping about appear including cocaine, money, Michael Jordan, and many others. Although there’s never any insane scenery changes or anything of that nature, this video is clearly extremely well-thought-out, and it does a wonderful job of portraying the lifestyle that is talked about in the track.

Obviously, I along with the rest of Rap fans always have high anticipations whenever either of these artists releases new music. The fact that they’ve finally decided to join together for an entire project is unbelievable and I know what I’m going to be listening to all weekend as soon as it drops. The vibe I get from this single reminds me somewhat of a more classic, gritty style of Rap and even mixes in a few other genres. It’s hard to place a label on this because it really is amazing but not in a typical Hip-Hop sense. It’s as uncharacteristic as ever while also remaining catchy and impressive enough that I want to go back and listen to it again as soon as it comes to an end. I couldn’t be more caught off guard yet excited for Alfredo to drop tomorrow and you should be too. Listen to “1985” while you wait and understand for yourself why I think so highly of it after only a few listens.