How Gibbs Found Heaven Living In Hell: Freddie Gibbs "You Only Live 2wice" Review

Written by Waylon O'Day

MLM Stars // 4.2 Out of 5 Stars

In his first release since his wrongful arrest in Europe in 2016, Freddie Gibbs’ You Only Live 2wice is easily his most powerful and personal release to date. The eight-track album runs at just about half an hour, but definitively demonstrates that Gibbs has been to hell and back.

The opening track “20 Karat Jesus,” is equal parts hauntingly beautiful and inspiring, thanks to the contrasting production on the two halves of the track. Gibbs reflects on his past, the good and the bad, and how those things have made him who he is, all while delivering some absolutely genius one-liners. Gibbs continues to reminiscence on “Alexys,” as he questions his treatment of women and whether or not he has outgrown those he came up with.

 

 “Crushed Glass” is the most moving song in Gibbs’ catalog; he refers to how his life was nearly ruined over a wrongful accusation, how it affected his mental health and his relationship with his family. He compares the global prison system to the slave trade, and talks about how he fears what Donald Trump will do to the already huge racial divide. A woman from Gibbs past is the inspiration for “Maria,” as Gibbs continues to reflect on his past, and expresses both gratefulness and regret towards the titular character.

“Amnesia” is Freddie Gibbs at his most comfortable as he talks about how a lot of his peers are just putting up a front, and he’s really living the life he writes about. “Andrea” is one of my favorite tracks on this album, up until the chorus; from there the song really just drags and ruins the pace of the project. “Phone Lit” is super catchy, but it is just too lethargic to really enjoy.

 

“Homesick” finds Gibbs thinking of the problems that he faced immediately upon returning home, and his fears that his daughter will follow the same path he did. During the outro, Gibbs plainly talks about how prison changed him; making him focus more on his daughter and how he nearly lost everything he had built. Gibbs is one of the most lyrically proficient artists out there right now, and probably the most authentic too. If this release should tell you anything about him it’s that. 

He folds his rhymes into themselves over and over, creating lyrical origami, a skill he is unmatched in by any of his peers. This is his strongest showing since Piñata, it shows the listeners this different side of Gibbs that isn’t constantly bragging on himself, but someone who is vulnerable, someone who is human.

Stream the project below