Dressed in an all-black suit, a tall bald-headed man stared right down the camera at a national audience and screamed his hometown into the microphone with unwavering confidence and effortlessly cool, Freddie Gibbs had arrived. On the heels of his undeniably impressive 2022 album $oul $old $eparately, the Gary, Indiana native stormed the stage on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon backed by The Roots for a dual performance of “Blackest In The Room” and “Feel No Pain” featuring Anderson .Paak.
Seeing someone like Gibbs on a platform like The Tonight Show is a refreshing sight. The ever-versatile approach he takes to his music allows the artist to travel to any era of hip-hop and sound right at home. Whether it’s the collage style production and chip-on-the-shoulder tunes we heard from his 2019 Madlib collaboration Bandana or the dusty loops the Alchemist provided for his 2020 album Alfredo, Gibbs fears no instrumental. Like a sculptor, he melts his art down only to reshape and reform it into something only his vision can produce. His latest release, $oul $old $eparatley, proves his complex writing style in its ability to jump between topics and moods almost instantly.
The pair of songs, both off of the aforementioned album, allow Gibbs’ flexibility as a vocalist to shine on a national stage. The first cut, “Blackest In The Room” allows Gibbs to ramble off his self-aware observations and questions of the after-life in a laid-back flow backed by a swirling arrangement that comes to life the more you become in tune with its nuances. The emotional questioning on the first song is juxtaposed when Gibbs brings out Anderson .Paak for “Feel No Pain”. Both artists approach the muddy instrumental with cartoonish gusto that brings new life to the performance.
Watch the full performance below: