• Louis Mulhern

Over 5 years after the release of their last collaborative album 'Piñata', MadGibbs are back at it again, creating what seems to be a masterpiece.

The opening lines of the first real track 'Freestyle S**t' go: Warning: the surgeon general has determined that the sounds you are about to hear, will always be devastating to your ear, sleep well. This warning could not have been more true. The album is a cinematic story about life on the streets, told with incredible lyricism, infused with experimental soul production, along with a few skits in-between tracks. On 'Piñata', it seemed that Gibbs and Madlib were still coming to terms with each others styles, with a few things on the album sounding a little rough around the edges, even though it was still a great body of work. Those few inconsistencies have been well and truly figured out on this record.

To me it sounds like two greats of hip-hop at the height of their powers, coming together to tell some incredible stories, sounding like Madlib's best work since Madvillainy, and Freddie Gibbs' best work ever. This is probably Gibbs' best lyrical work too, with every single bar being spat with incredible technical skill and lyricism. Other great lyricists such as Pusha T, Killer Mike Yesin Bey and Black Thought appear on this album, but Gibbs manages to hold his own, never sounding second best, even among some of hip-hops lyrical goliaths. Because of the sheer quality of Gibbs' performance, I felt immersed in the street stories he was telling, which added to the cinematic greatness of the record. Madlib complements this almost perfectly, as he mixes 1970's soul into the production to help add to the gritty kind of realism that Gibbs manages to bring.

Gibbs manages to bring authenticity and realism to the album, sounding like a man who has seen far too much. This is shown in moments such as when he raps: Every-time I sleep, dead faces, they occupy my brain which shows that Gibbs still sees his dead friends or enemies whenever he sleeps, constantly haunting his conscious. The realism is shown in other moments too, such as when he raps about using a bandana to wipe fingerprints off of a murder weapon. In terms of technical rapping skill, it is one of my favourite albums in recent memory, due to the performances of Gibbs and the supporting cast, with Madlib directing these stars like the genius producer he is.

Madlib's beats create a backdrop to the story that Gibbs is telling, never being too much or to little, infusing samples like someone who is a master at their craft. This album is perfect for people who want to hear traditional hip-hop, telling some of the best stories I can think of. I loved this album from start to finish, with it being consistently great throughout, giving Tyler, The Creators 'IGOR' a lot of competition for my current album of the year, and it is my favourite rap album so far too.

Favourite Songs: Flat Tummy Tea, Cataracts, Palmolive

Score: 9.1/10

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  • Louis Mulhern

So, just over an hour ago I woke up early to listen to 'IGOR'. Sadly, I woke up with a headache and was going to postpone my listen for an hour or so until I felt better, but where's the fun in that?

So, 'IGOR' is Tyler's 6th full length project, and was not what I was expecting to any degree. I'm going to try and keep this review short as I've only listened once, but you best believe I'm getting another few listens in today. After 'Flower Boy' was released, I didn't really know how Tyler could manage to top such an incredible project, as it was such a change in tone, aesthetic and the story in it was gorgeous. But, I feel like 'IGOR' did this just as good, if not better. This sounds like Tyler's first attempt at an R&B/pop album, being a complete left turn from his style in anything else, and Tyler was really not joking when he said he wanted to sing. It's minimalist in it's very nature, with Tyler taking a step back on pretty much every track, letting the features and heavy production take the lead, and in tracks like 'PUPPET' the way Tyler manages to utilise Kanye West's singing is a testament to his production abilities. On 'Flower Boy', one of the things that impressed me the most was Tyler's production, being all by himself, being so different yet so damn impressive. In this project, it's more experimental, sounding like all of Tyler's previous works have been put into a blender and spewed out onto the canvas that is 'IGOR.'

Much like 'Flower Boy', the album has underlying themes of love and the things going on in Tyler's head, with a tonne of metaphors placed throughout, so I might do another article trying to explain these, as I attempt to try and grasp the album more. In his statement before the release of the album, Tyler made it clear that he wanted there to be no distractions when taking in the project, and his reasoning for this has shone in this project. The gothic, disco and pop feel of the album just makes it sound like it was made so people could dance around in their room and take it in. It sounds like what people would listen to in a rainy car ride at night on their way home. It sounds like what an album should be. Mainstream rap listeners will be likely to not enjoy this project, as it is so different, even for Tyler. This could resonate with some pop music fans though, and could elevate Tyler's stature as an artist. It almost has this kind of vibe which portrays Tyler as a disco king, which is shown through the way he dresses and the set design in the clips leading up the albums release.

It's so upbeat in it's very nature, every track is a so called 'banger', sounding like it could literally be played anywhere, and I would love to get into a mosh pit when Tyler performs this live. It just seems to shine on every highlight it is given, and is probably my favourite album of the year so far, but admittedly, I get overly excited on first listens sometimes. It's vastly experimental but his most accessible, and one of his most relatable albums to date. It's almost as if Tyler took some of the things he was trying to do on 'Cherry Bomb', and put them onto this project, but as a more experienced artist, refining everything that did not shine on that project. A lot of the sounds and production make you feel the emotions intended, rather than the lyrics, in a vastly rich soundscape. You can feel the anger, love, pain and happiness intended on each track, without even having to listen to the lyrics. The album has it's own identity compared to Tyler's previous works, and if his name and face wasn't on it, you'd have to take a minute to figure out who it is.

To conclude, this album is absolutely gorgeous. As much as I loved 'Flower Boy', I'm not afraid to say that I think this is Tyler's best work and will be one of his most important, I could change my mind, but as of right now, I am in love with this project. This will definitely going up for the album of the year, and I think Tyler could finally get the Grammy he deserves. It is an amazing thing to watch his growth as an artist, from his controversial and gritty lyrics, to shining in this project as a beautiful disco/pop/R&B album. It's going to be one of the albums that sets the tone for my summer, and all I can say right now is this: Tyler, stank you smelly mucho.


Score: 9/10

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  • Louis Mulhern

With half of the universe turned into dust, in ‘Avengers: Endgame’, the remaining heroes must attempt to recover all that was lost in ‘Infinity War’. SPOILERS AHEAD

Last years ‘Infinity War’ was one of the most heart-breaking moments any superhero fan could ever see, with half of your favourite characters turning into dust, after 10 years of introducing them. Infinity War was an incredible film, definitely being one of the best MCU films too. After we saw some of these heroes die, Endgame offers the chance of redemption, avenging them, and hopefully bringing them back from the dead.

Anthony and Joe Russo have proved multiple times that they were the right people to take these two movies on. Infinity War was all in action from start to finish, as we see multiple groups of these heroes attempt to stop Thanos from gathering the Infinity Stones. This film, at 3 hours long, is a slower pace than that, dealing with a lot more issues, and less action. The clips we saw in the trailers really do not give off much of what is going to happen in this film. A bunch of the clips previously saw were cut out, and all of them were from the first leg of the film, not giving much context on what will actually happen. The first act is all about grieving over the ones we had lost in the previous film and recovering Tony Stark and Nebula, with the help of Captain Marvel. So, right from the get-go, we are thrown back into the vast emotions and pain from the end of Infinity War, picking up not much longer from where we left off. I mean, this film is a rollercoaster of emotions.

After we see the mourning of those we have lost, the hunt for Thanos continued, finding him on a farm on a new planet. They find him, found he has destroyed the Infinity Stones, kill him, and seem lost from there. Welcome to the Endgame. Picking up 5 years later, we see the world in disarray, with everyone still trying to figure out what path they are going to take in this new half-populated universe. Tony Stark has a family with Pepper Potts, Scott Lang discovers his daughter now grown up, Steve Rogers has a reunion with Black Widow, Hulk and Bruce Banner officially become one, Hawkeye is in immense pain after losing his family, killing multiple people, and Thor is an overweight alcoholic. After this, it’s more than just a reunion to save the universe. This is now deep-rooted pain, with a conflict of interests, and everything seeming against them. After figuring out how to go back in time, if it didn’t work, Tony would lose his daughter. When they figure out how to go back in time, there’s a sense of reminiscence over the previous films, as we seem them recover all of the Infinity Stones through the times and places they were found in. Of course, Thanos manages to find out, and will later attempt to stop them. We even get to see Tony and Steve Rogers jump back into the 1970s, with Tony meeting his father, Howard Stark. There is great emotional depth in every single line it seems, with this evidently being much more than just an average superhero movie. Black Widow and Hawkeye going against each other to try and kill themselves for the Soul Stone is something that had me getting upset about, as I saw two of my favourite characters of the last 7 years attempt to take their own life over someone elses.

And just like that, the Infinity Stones are in the Avengers hands, and the day can be saved.

But of course, not without Thanos having something to say about it. The battle at the end of the movie is an absolute spectacle. The one chance they had of defeating Thanos was appearing to be in this timeline, with Doctor Strange transporting everyone from their previous locations, to go against Thanos and his army. We get to see the reunion of all our heroes, in one of the greatest fight scenes from any film, period. Things like seeing Captain America being worthy to lift Mjolnir is another thing that will help make this scene so memorable. Of course, Thanos manages to get his gauntlet back, but when he goes to snap his fingers, the stones have been stolen out of them, by Tony Stark, who is a mere human to Thanos. Kind of ironic, really. We know from earlier that snapping your fingers with each stone is enough to take a lot out of you, with Hulk having to have his arm in a brace after doing it earlier in the film, so when you see Tony Stark with it, you can only see the worst thing happing. In his words before snapping his fingers, he says “I am Iron Man”, the same exact words he used to announce who he was to the world. Tony snaps his fingers, and Thanos and his army turn into dust, with the threat to half of all life disappearing. Now, this is the scene that is probably the most heart-breaking over the entire MCU. In Infinity War, we know that there is a good chance that the characters will come back, but here, we know that Iron Man is gone, forever. After 11 years, and starting off the MCU, the longest running character comes to an end, marking the end of an era. The rest of what we see after this is beautiful. We see Iron Man’s funeral with most of the heroes showing up, and the world back with everyone back on it, with cities and countries thriving once more. Now the only thing to do, was to return the Infinity Stones so that the timelines would not get destroyed. Captain America decides to take this task on, taking as much time as he needs, as in the real timeline, he will only be gone for 5 seconds.

Now, this part is the greatest scene in the film, for me. Captain America doesn’t come back where he was supposed to, but instead, we see an old man sitting, looking into the river. It is none other, than Captain America himself. Instead of coming back, he decided to live his life as a normal man with Peggy Carter, fulfilling what was essentially his dream, before passing on his shield to Falcon, and passing on the mantle of Captain America. This scene is so beautiful to me, as instead of the pain we feel when Iron Man passes away, we feel a sense of a bittersweet moment, as Cap managed to live the life he wanted, but at the same time, we lose another one of our favourite heroes.

To conclude, ‘Avengers: Endgame’ is one of the greatest superhero films of all time and deserves all of the plaudits it has been getting. It is more than just an action film, it is a film about grief, redemption, pain, and seeing all of these characters as real people with real emotions, rather than just as their superhero alter egos. Standing at 3 hours long, there is a lot of incredible story to be told here, with the directors, writers and actors all giving us a film that will go down as one of the biggest and best in film history. The likes of Black Widow, Iron Man and Captain America will all be missed, a lot, but I am incredibly excited to see the next phase of the MCU, especially with the Disney and Fox merger coming soon.


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