Released: May 29

“This album’s going to be a classic,” Freddie Gibbs told Complex a few days before Alfredo’s release. It sounds like the type of thing rappers normally say about upcoming albums. But after a string of incredible-to-instant-classic albums (Piñata, Shadow of a Doubt, You Only Live 2wice, Freddie, Fetti, Bandana), chances were good that this wasn’t just idle boasting. Alchemist is also on a hot streak—in 2020 alone he has superb collaborative projects with Boldy James and Conway the Machine under his belt. And Alfredo meets all our expectations. The album finds Gibbs looking backwards, examining tough times and lamenting lost friendships and deceased relatives. Technically, he’s on top of his game. No longer the beat-switching champion he was on Bandana, he instead concentrates on bringing a head-spinning variety of flows and approaches to each Alchemist soundscape. And what soundscapes they are: simple, beautifully layered and arranged, and varied. Alchemist’s beats make the project sound like nothing else we’ve heard this year. “Ain’t nobody rapping like this right now. Ain’t no project like this right now,” Gibbs said in our interview. “The game need it.” Yes, it does. —Shawn Setaro