Freddie Gibbs — Shadow of a Doubt (ESGN, 2015)
If last year’s Madlib collaboration Piñata was a test for Freddie Gibbs, then Shadow of a Doubt represents a return to tradition, albeit with a changed perspective. Backed by moody trap rap beats, Gibbs covers his usual set of cocaine-slanging topics. The lush “Fuckin’ Up the Count” details Gibbs’ side gig in a tragic light whereas “Packages” is pure infectious braggadocio. Gibbs also tries his hand at singing with mixed results; though “Basketball Wives” is an auto-tuned nightmare, he fares better on more personal tracks like “Insecurities,” reflecting on the birth of his daughter. It’s these brief moments of introspection that make Shadow of a Doubt stand out, even if Gibbs can’t always escape the generic.
Trial Track: “Extradite”