Freddie Gibbs – Cold Day in Hell

written by: December 13, 2011
Release Date:

[rating 2.0]

Gary, Ind., is famous—or infamous, depending on your interpretation—for being the home to Jackson family, once being one of the nation’s most dangerous cities, and its looming steel mills. It is this environment that served as the backdrop for Freddie Gibbs, a rapper whose dealings with the music industry have been just as tumultuous as his hometown’s economy.

Gibbs famously signed a deal with Interscope Records before being dropped without the album he created seeing a release. Since then, Gibbs has become a master of mixtapes and EPs as he preps for the release of his debut full-length on Young Jeezy’s CTE records. Full-length looming, Gibbs is still working hard as ever to build hype for himself, as evinced by the release of Cold Day in Hell mixtape.

Cold Day in Hell is Gibbs doing what Gibbs does, and that is crafting vintage gansgta rap.

Gibbs’ deep, smooth delivery booms on each track, making his intense presence felt at the start of each verse. Sadly, the subject matter that Gibbs tackles on Cold Day in Hell can’t help but feel trite, even if the he’s coming from an area where “Anything 2 Survive” (featuring Freeway, Sly Polaroid and Adrian) may actually ring true.

“Rob Me a Nigga” (featuring Alley Boy) sees Gibbs retread tired gangsta imagery and overuses a fairly strong hook by relentlessly repeating it for much of the track’s introduction. On tracks such as “Gotta Let Ya Nuts Hang” (featuring Scrilla) and “Neighborhood Hoez” (featuring 2 Chainz) Gibbs’ wordplay is worthy of an eye-roll, given how misogynistic and dated it all feels.

This isn’t as much a fault of Gibbs as it is the genre he’s trying to fit into. Over the course of his previous releases, Gibbs has proven that he is a competent MC, but there is little on Cold Day in Hell that makes it seem as if there has been any forward progression in his music or image. There’s nothing wrong with trying to reinvent the successes of South Central Los Angeles, but without even a slightly updated outlook, there’s nothing Gibbs can say that will make it seem truly urgent instead of just posturing.

At 17-tracks, and nearly an hour in length, Cold Day in Hell is a massive undertaking. Gibbs has brought together a diverse group of producers, and often they overshadow Gibbs because of his lack of originality. The two tracks produced by Beatnick and K-Salaam—“Anything 2 Survive” and “Heaven Can Wait”—are enjoyable facsimiles of early-1990s G-funk that avoid many of pitfalls thornback producers often fall into.

Gibbs is certainly talented, but there’s little on Cold Day in Hell that proves this. Perhaps his forthcoming full-length will shift that dynamic, but until then, Gibbs will still be a strong rapper without the inventiveness to bring him above his circumstances.

Freddie Gibbs – Cold Day in Hell tracklist:

  1. “Barely M.A.D.E. It”
  2. “Rob Me a Nigga” (featuring Alley Boy)
  3. “187 Proof”
  4. “Anything 2 Survive” (featuring Freeway and Sly Polaroid)
  5. “2′s & Fews” (featuring Young Jeezy)
  6. “Gotta Let Ya Nuts Hang” (featuring Will Scrilla)
  7. “Let ‘Em Burn”
  8. “B.A.N.ned”
  9. “My Homeboy’s Girlfriend”
  10. “PSA 2 (Pussy So Amazin)”
  11. “Natural High” (Even Higher Learning)
  12. “Str8 Slammin” (featuring Juicy J)
  13. “Menace II Society” (featuring Dom Kennedy)
  14. “Neighborhood Hoez” (featuring 2 Chainz)
  15. “Heaven Can Wait”
  16. “My Dawgz”