Chicago’s Lil Bibby has become one of hip hop’s most notable up-and-comers after his critically acclaimed debut mixtape Free Crack. Having been lauded already by juggernauts like Drake, Wiz Khalifa and Juicy J, everyone's been itching to see what the rising rap star does with a follow up.
Well, the wait is over. Bibby did not disappoint.
The highly anticipated Free Crack 2 is the culmination of Bibby’s growth as an artist, a well-balanced mix of street tales, dealing with fame and a hip hop takeover.
Even without rapping, Bibby makes a statement on the intro. Well, technically Cash Money’s tatted up tycoon Birdman makes a statement first, endorsing the young rhymer before Bibby sets his own expectations, proclaiming that calling him a kingpin would be an understatement.
Production-wise, Free Crack 2 starts out notably mellow compared to some of Bibby’s Drill-heavy earlier works. The Bangladesh-produced “Can I Have Your Attention” started with pronounced guitar strings and a subtle tambourine, allowing Bibby’s voice to resonate even harder as he speaks on how fame has only heightened his sense of paranoia.
“I got n----s plottin’ on me/Keep that glock up on me, Hella guap up on me/No you not my homie, I could get you shot up homie and they ain’t gon’ find out/Bring them 45s out every time I ride out/Try to come in my house, leave you inside out,” Bibby raps.
Back in June, Bibby told BET.com that he and fellow Chiraq rhymer Lil Herb planned to do an album or mixtape together, and after hearing “Game Over” that’s something fans will undoubtedly look forward to even more as Bibby and Herb take turns showcasing their ability to chop it up like fellow 312-native Twista.
What might have been most notable about Free Crack 2 was that Bibby was never outshined by any of his collaborators, and there were some spitters. He teamed up with Juicy J on two of the mixtape’s standout tracks, “For the Low” (which also featured Wiz Khalifa) and “Montana,” which catalogued each MC’s respective boss-like traits. Then on the P-Lo-produced “Boy,” Bibby went back and forth with Grand Hustle’s grand hustler himself, T.I., and even took on Tip’s style a little bit as the two paid tribute to the timeless art of stunting.
Bibby’s improvement was prevalent throughout the mixtape but “Dead or in Prison” exhibited a new level of depth and introspection, detailing the difficult balance of fame and authenticity and how that effects everyday life in some of America’s urban war zones.
“They see a young n---a stuntin’ now they want you killed/Gotta watch out for these youngins tryna pay they bill/I swear to God I liked it better back when I was broke/I’m paranoid I gotta keep an eye on all these folks/Never been a fool, ridin’ with the tool/Early in the morning takin’ nephew to school/They say I changed, I’m still the same dude/Everything the same I just changed how I move,” Bibby rapped.
Even though he’s not quite old enough to drink, Lil Bibby deserves a toast for Free Crack 2. From mainstream hits like the Ty Dolla $ign-influenced "I Be on It" and the “Water” remix which features Jadakiss and Anthony Hamilton, to heavier songs like the Kevin Gates-assisted gem "We Are Strong," Bibby exudes a confidence that goes beyond the self-promotion 101 type rhymes that have flooded hip hop.
Chicago has put out a lot of promising young artists but with a stentorian voice and the ability to adapt to any beat and speak candidly on any subject, Lil Bibby has all the makings of an artist who will still be around twenty years from now.
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(Photo: Grade A Productions)