When Statik Selektah and Saigon joined forces for their 24-hour collaboration album All In a Day’s Work it was heralded for its vision and originality. Regardless of the reviews and accolades that the album did (or did not) receive, it was conceptually one of the more creative releases of the last few years. So when it was announced that Statik would join forces with Freddie Gibbs, anticipation once again rose. Yes, Lord Giveth, Lord Taketh Away was recorded in a 24-hour period where both Gibbs and Statik were locked away in the studio. And even more importantly, it gives us new Gangster Gibbs music, fresh with that Gary, Indiana perspective where the living ain’t easy and the easy ain’t living.
The album starts incredibly with the album’s title track. Here Gibbs spits some of the albums most memorable lyrics over haunting organs. “Lord Giveth, Lord Taketh Away” once again proves why gangster rap won’t die, and why Gibbs is what it looks like. With a hook like “Lord giveth, lord taketh away/ Make a dollar for tomorrow we gon take it today/ I guess I’m take your shit, thats what it takes to get paid/ If you a gangster do your thing than take that shit to the grave” Gibbs and Statik give us one of the better tracks of 2011. “Rap Money” sees Gibbs reminiscing about his past and how his quest to get rap money would let him walk away from the lifestyle that paid the bills. A guest appearance by Daz Dillinger works well and hears the Left Coast Legend recall his early Death Row days.
While Daz and Fred the Godson sound brilliant alongside Gibbs other appearances seem a bit excessive. With the album only containing seven tracks and nine guest spots, Gibbs shares the spotlight, a spotlight he has earned with three or four too many guests. The spots are certainly filled with artists whose respective grinds and music can stand alongside Gibbs, but on a 7-track effort; the duo would have been smart to cut the guest list in half. Production wise, Statik ventures between great and status quo. On the aforementioned title track he provides a soundtrack that brings the very best out of Gibbs. Yet “Wild Style” aside from a cut up Rakim chorus, is missing something in its sonic texture. The same can be said about “Keep it Warm for Ya” which sounds incredible during the chorus, but otherwise sounds looped and withheld.
The end result of Lord Giveth, Lord Taketh Away is an inspired project from two of Hip Hop’s most heralded. For Gibbs it builds upon the foundation that his mixtape grind has created. With a full album likely to see a release date this year, Lord Giveth, Lord Taketh Away will most certainly drum up both anticipation and expectations for that date.