Freddie Gibbs, while becoming increasingly polarized, remains one of the best at his craft. Although public opinion may be skewed due to his ongoing online feuds, some things are just facts and Freddie Gibbs is very good at rapping.
Although we have not yet received SSS, Freddie Gibbs has already started laying the groundwork for the album release with the Space Rabbit tour. The initial 22-date tour kicked off in the spring across North America with a single Canadian date in Vancouver. Unfortunately for Canadian fans who weren’t on the West Coast, that meant they had to wait for another tour announcement after-SSS before he can see Freddie Forgiato in the flesh. Luckily, his one festival date at Montreal’s Osheaga in early August opened up the calendar for a few other dates across the country, including Toronto.
Photo credit: Tremaine Gordon for HNHH
It was a solo show for Gibbs at Danforth Music Hall. The one-off concert did not include warm-up sets from his previous tour debuts as redveil or MIKE. However, City Fidelia (aka the Mayor of Ottawa) showed up for their first post-COVID performance. City’s brief set showcased an expert showman in his area. He energized the crowd through a series of exhilarating bangers. His technical prowess echoed with every flow and cadence. Calls and responses echoed through Danforth Music Hall before he brought Toronto’s Dom Vallie onto the stage to perform “Tell Me Please.” Although many didn’t know City before the show, he won over Freddie Gibbs’ audience the moment he finished his set with Shelley-assisted “Soulmate”.
City was the only opener, but it was enough to drain the energy of the home crowd. Things got choppy in the time block between City and Freddie’s set, especially as the DJs tried to gauge the audience’s perspective. However, there was a change as red lights flooded the dimly lit room, and Mark Morrison’s “Return Of The Mack” blared through the monitors. Gibbs entered from the left of the stage, wearing a camo jacket with its hood and a white t-shirt. Immediately, Gibbs charged with Alfredo opening, “1985”, feeding on the energy of the crowd before entering “God Is Perfect”.
Gibbs’ humor shone through as he began to enter previous cuts. After shouting at his early days, who he says sarcastically “flattered” him with their applause, he hopped into songs of Pinata like “Thuggin'”, “Harold’s” and “Deeper.“real sound the first days probably wanted him to dig deeper into the catalog (i.e.Babyface Killa, Cold Day in Hell, etc.). Yet we are in a new era of Freddie Gibbs’ career, where a Grammy nomination cemented his underground status. He made his mark in the days of mixtapes and blogs, but like most artists, his setlist mostly reflected records with the highest streaming numbers.
Gibbs was pretty quiet for the first part of his set, allowing his lyrical aptitude and technical skills to shine. He would go halfway through a song before the DJ cut the beat, and Gibbs would proceed a capella without losing his breath as he performed “Scottie Beam.” Much like a jazz pianist or a rock guitarist playing back a recording of a stunning solo on stage, Gibbs treats his craft the same way. The moments when the music cut out and his voice echoed through the a capella speakers left many in awe of his skills.
At one point, Gibbs glanced at the setlist with mild disinterest, foreshadowing his approach for the rest of the evening. After admitting to being largely drunk and pouring another hit, he walked out of the script, listing the records he wanted to play rather than the ones on the sheet in front of him. Between his drunken levels and his spontaneous setlist, Gibbs didn’t necessarily allow for smooth transitions, like when he said he was going to play “Pronto” then forgot about it 10 seconds later and started playing.” Gang Signs”. His abilities are second nature, however, and he can perform every song and flow regardless of the circumstances or substances entering his body.
Photo credit: Tremaine Gordon for HNHH
The evening eventually turned into a more personal affair as the show went on and the booze flowed. Gibbs’ off-the-cuff comments — both to his DJ and the crowd — created hilarious moments and revitalized energy between Gibbs and his fans. However, the highlight of the night was Gibbs’ encore. As promised earlier in the set, he debuted new music. One, in particular, featured DJ Paul, fusing the Midwestern flows of Gibbs with a muddy twist of Three 6 Mafia’s Memphis for a woozy banger. Another sounded like it had production from Boi-1da, who connected with Freddie Gibbs for 2015’s “F*ckin’ Up The Count.” Heat in Toronto all week, so hopefully we’ll hear about it SSS.
Many rappers these days rely on crowd participation rather than showmanship. Very few have found the happy medium between the two. Gibbs remains one of the best in the business, on stage or in the booth. And while rapper Gary, IN may be showing more interest in performing these days, his live shows prove he’s a master of his craft.