The collaborative joint project Alfredo, by Freddie Gibbs and The Alchemist arrived in sudden notice. Without warning the two celebrate a Godfather like aesthetic with a mob mentality that’s apparent throughout the album. As two members of their own rap mafia, Gibbs and Alchemist are the two in charge and they want those in the community to know that.
Just shy off of releasing Bandana a year ago with Madlib, Freddie Gibbs brings it up a notch by further exploring his darker side. Regardless of who’s by his side, the rapper remains front and center, commanding any and every lane in his path. Boosting up his ego, the expressiveness of him is formulated by a sense of realization that he is a threat, and he knows that. Alfredo is an intense mission to time travel to the past, rewinding through the era of the mafias and the gangsters, while reinventing his character along the way.
Opening up the project, intro “1985” sets the tone of revisiting the past while modernizing the pieces of appreciation along the way. A declaration to the state of the current climate – it works with a reliance of constant nostalgia but also still aware of today. Gibbs keeps it classic with the samples, but also with absurd namechecks including the fad of the year Joe Exotic.
But also, with the ongoing fight for justice, Freddie Gibbs continues with a menacing persona but also conscious with the fact that there’s a bigger battle than he actually realizes. Which helps him to trace back to the roots of why he’s gotten darker and darker over the years. On “Baby $hit” he’s dressed in confidence, from head to toe, while pressing play on a slideshow of the scenes that formulated his life story. This highlights such specifics to black culture and the fight with the law.
“Scottie Beam” continues the plot. Freddie narrates his story of being racially profiled and the sudden rush of fear of being confronted by the cops. At the moment there’s this eerie sensation to the fact that his story is the actual life and times of the black community that still, in 2020, are living in fear due to the color of their skin. Despite being released prior to the recent events of the protests over the disgraceful murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, Gibbs writes a relevant tale for today.
Reassuring that the “execution will be televised”, the messages of being Black in America are front and center. Such messages are delivered with Gibbs’ signature carefully executed lyricism and flow. Undeniable album highlight “Skinny Suge” perfectly allows Freddie to come clean with this newfound side of glory, and he held his trust with The Alchemist who executed it precisely. Building a brotherhood with one another, both acts owe a sense of loyalty to each other, and they never forget that.
The Alchemist had to allow Gibbs to share his truth, and to share his reality that developed this mob mentality. As countless of Black Americans are vowing in anger, The Alchemist sits back and listens and joins as an ally in respectable matter. Both by each other’s side, the two have a vengeance and they seek it through various movie samples and beat switches to keep listeners on the edge.
Rick Ross, Tyler, The Creator, Conway The Machine and Benny the Butcher are supporting characters in this rap mafia tale that helps to piece together the storyline. Alfredo is a modernized reboot of every great mafia film, but instead, the Black man is finally the lead character.