Freddie Gibbs; Photo: Jeff Min

Madlib has always been a big draw, and wherever he goes his fans follow. His opening set was about what you’d expect from a collector whose record collection borders on the epic.

Accordion” in particular was a highlight. Instead of just letting the needle drop, he diced up the loop and flipped the percussion offering a glimpse into how he constructs, or in this case deconstructs a beat. It made Doom‘s opening verse even more potent: [LISTEN]


Still, despite Madlib’s pull, it was Gibbs’ night, the Indiana native not slow to break out “Harold’s” – a Chicago fried chicken institution – for a rowdy hometown crowd, Gibbs’ cadence natural and effortless: [LISTEN]


Gibbs was a pro, casually commanding the stage like a veteran. He exchanged quips with Madlib (at one point sharing a blunt), allowed his drunk relative to get on the mic, and sat on the edge of the stage like it were his front porch.

There were some noticeable slip ups, understandable for the amount of ganja being smoked. Madlib missed a few cues and Gibbs had to start over a few times. It put a slight cramp in their stride, but not enough to derail the show completely – the synergy was far too strong and they both were having way too much fun for that to happen. By the time they did “Thuggin” all was right with the world: [LISTEN]


Gibbs was all class making Chicago feel like the most important city in the world. When Madlib wanted to play a song reppin’ L.A. he quickly cut him short saying something to the effect of ‘Nah, I can’t do the Midwest like that. I got too much love for Chicago.’

Imagine saying ‘no’ to one of the greatest hip hop producers of all time because your respect for the city was that deep. It wasn’t a snide remark either it was just Gibbs being himself regardless of who he’s sharing the stage with.

After his last song he returned for a spirited encore, capping off his short but sweet set with an intense version of “Eastside Moonwalker:” [LISTEN]

"Eastside Moonwalker"