All photos courtesy of John Cotter
It’s a treat when Gangsta Gibbs shows up, so he made a whole holiday out of it.
On December 17th and 18th, Freddie Gibbs and Chris Crack sold out The Metro in Chicago for “Freddie’s Merry Gibbsmas,” with the 17th’s show followed by a stand-up set at the legendary Zanies Comedy Night Club. The $oul $old $eperately rapper felt at one with the crowd on the final night of ‘Gibbsmas,’ giving one of the most dedicated fan bases in hip-hop a night to cherish while they unwrap their new Freddie vinyl on Christmas morning.
Chris Crack kicked things off with his sample-infused, hypnotic performance. An appropriate prelude to Gibbs, Chris Crack grasps the mic like a tenured MC, laying out brain-rattling rhymes with fastened confidence and infectious joy. He even previewed an unreleased track that he has with sample-god Madlib, and that made every eyebrow in the room raise an inch. It was one of those “you had to be there” moments, as plenty of those were decorated throughout the evening.
The main event approaches, lighters start flickering, a mix of must and smoke billow from the crowd and the stage, as Gibbs enters from right-stage, takes off his shiesty ski mask, and gets right into it, no B.S. That’s the best part about seeing Freddie Gibbs live: he’s gonna’ give you a hell of a performance, even if he just did the same exact thing the night before. Rolling through hit after hit, Freddie’s legendary discography spans well over ten years, and seeing him play newer hits like “Zipper Bags” and “PYS” and then going all the way back to 2014 with “Thuggin'” is like being in a hotboxed time machine.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a diversified crowd at a rap show: differing ages, demographics, and different decades of Freddie fans. Conversing with Mizzou students and cancer doctors, Freddie locked eyes with everyone possible in the venue while going bar-for-bar on each and every track. He doesn’t need a backtrack to keep him on beat, he just needs a packed room in front of him.
The greatest fleeting thought from ‘Gibbsmas’ was easily just how much he enjoys doing this. He didn’t have to do two nights in Chicago the week before Christmas, he wanted to. In an age where performances can feel like monetary obligations for some rappers, Freddie truly loves what he does.
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