20 Karat Jesus | Freddie Gibbs


Benjamin Hickey

Cover photo by Peter Beste

Triumphant returns have always been important elements in rap music. In the past year we have heard returns from Gucci Mane, Tee Grizzley, XXXTentacion, and more. Freddie Gibbs’ You Only Live 2wice sits among the most impressive and triumphant of these projects. Coming back from incarceration abroad, the innocent Freddie Gibbs uses his legal battle as a talking point for much of the album.

The first words on the first track, “20 Karat Jesus,” are “my ambitions as a ridah,” a call back to 2Pac. This sets the mood for the album, tapping into the influence of that era of rap. Gibbs raps over two great beats on this opener, produced by Pops, Speakerbomb, and Blair Norf. The first beat is closer to the 90s style boom bap that Gibbs referenced in the first line, and the second one moves into a gospel sample-backed big beat that Gibbs tears apart with a great hook and tremendous flows.

This project comes close in quality to his 2014 opus project “Cocaine Piñata,” and has everyone excited to see what he has in store for the future. Gibbs linked with the right producers—“Alexys,” one of the songs on the project featuring production by Kaytranada and BADBADNOTGOOD— which is a beautiful thing.