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Freddie Gibbs Concert Review

Freddie Gibbs
July 17th, 2015
The Riot Room - Kansas City, MO

Freddie Gibbs
This is what hot summer nights in Kansas City are supposed to be like. The parking lot outside The Riot Room's patio swarmed with rappers loading gear in and out, hip-hop fans taking smoke breaks, and inebriated Westport passers-by. The temperature outside had hit 95 degrees earlier in the day, but once the sun went down and the breeze hit you it was definitely nothing to complain about.

I entered the patio just as local rapper Gee Watts began his set. Watts, who hasn't yet achieved national recognition, is definitely closer to it than most area talents. He has released two mixtapes, two albums, and let the crowd know he is about to drop another one. Watts has also released a song featuring Kendrick Lamar, something that nobody else in Kansas City can say they've done (other than Tech N9ne, but that dude's rich). His half-hour set didn't create a huge stir among the audience, but when you're being juxtaposed to a star like Freddie Gibbs it's pretty understandable. Watts did a great job of blending rowdy West Coast rider anthems with his smooth, introspective tracks, a quality that Kendrick Lamar has perfected. Be on the lookout for this dude.

Kansas City's Gee Watts

The crowd near the front of the stage became more dense in anticipation of the upcoming arrival of Gibbs. Multiple girls scooted by me, beers held high above their heads. After a short DJ set that including a big crowd rap-along to A$AP Ferg's "Work," the main event was about to begin.

At close to 11:30pm Gary, Indiana's own Freddie Gibbs made his appearance. The gangsta rap revivalist made a quick round to give handshakes to his friends on stage and began his set. Over the hour-long show he stopped multiple times to have the crowd shout "Fuck police" and "ESGN" (the small label that Gibbs has created). Gibbs prefaced many songs with "Ay, hold up, can I tell you guys a story," a very endearing sentiment due to the fact that many of today's popular rap songs don't do a ton of that. Gibbs told the crowd that they weren't going to hear his music on the radio. He also flaunted his prowess by opening and closing songs a cappella. After the first few songs Gibbs had shed his light denim jacket and black t-shirt and was quickly sweating along with the 816.

Another impressive part of the evening was the amount of weed smoke that was billowing up from the patio. Your boy almost caught a contact high. A couple fans managed to excitedly pass their blunts to Gibbs onstage. One person was ridiculed for not having rolled their weed in a Backwoods wrap. Gibbs, who was already visibly high and admittedly drunk from when his set began did a masterful job of performing just as well as anyone could sober. The sign of a true G. The night's set was a solid mix of Gibbs' discography, including songs from his new EP "Pronto", his first LP "ESGN", his mixtape "BFK", a couple unreleased tracks, his song with Young Thug & A$AP Ferg, and most importantly: three songs from "Piñata," his collaborative album with hip-hop super-producer Madlib.

By the end of the show, Gibbs was pouring out sweat, pounding his chest, and bobbing up and down with the mic in one hand and a bottle of Patron in the other. After his last song he thanked everyone for coming out and proceeded to joyfully dance around onstage to a backing track and shake hands with most of the front row.

Freddie Gibbs is a thrill for a hip-hop fan of any age. Hard-ass rhymes about selling dope, multiple well-maintained flows, an authentic throwback feel with some of his production, and a great sense of humor to tie it all up. If you ever catch someone talking about missing "real hip-hop" and blabbering on about 2Pac and Biggie, Gangsta Gibbs will shut them right up.

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