Freddie Gibbs reunites with Madlib for “Bandana,” which doubled as his major label debut for RCA. The album received wide acclaim and peaked on the Billboard charts at the 21st spot. Freddie's signature voice as a watchdog for Blaxploitation returns but he shows off his versatility as an emcee rapping over an eclectic mix of styles. It’d be inaccurate to say this was his breakout album as he amassed ten years of critical acclaim as an indie. But “Bandana” did help bring him back to the center of attention in the hip-hop world and widen his audience.
Hip-hop in the 2010s was defined by rap going pop, inspiring an unprecedented renaissance in the genre. But lost in the evolution was authentic, lyrical gangster rap. Freddie Gibbs is just that. Coming from Gary, Indiana, Freddie knows the trenches. Regularly rated high on murder charts, the Steel City is best known for its massive abandoned steel mills and where the Jackson five originated before the white flight pulled the plug on the community. He lived a hard life getting out on a football scholarship to Ball State before dropping out, joined and was kicked out of the military, couldn’t hold down a day job and landed in a trap selling crack and pimping. But with his talent for rapping, he turned his misfortune into a way out. XXL would help launch him by including him on their 2010 Freshman list alongside Wiz Khalifa, J. Cole and Big Sean. He would find critical and commercial success as a master of flows, modernizing gangster rap for a new generation.