Gibrilville – Black Cadillac Season 3

 Gibrilville – Black Cadillac Season 3

Gibrilville – Black Cadillac Season 3 – Album Review

Had to kinda chuckle to myself when I was listening to the “Intro” to Gibrilville’s new record Black Cadillac Season 3, hearing him lament not being able to play basketball; if he thinks he’s got problems as an emcee trying to ball it up on the court, take it from me as a rabid Houston Rockets fan – I’ve got a whole team of players right now that arguably can’t play worth a damn either.  So I hear ya Gibrilville, I get it homie, I get it…that can be frustrating for sure.  As for me personally?  My basketball career ended way back in grade 7 when I realized that practice was going to be at 5:30am every day of the week – and I couldn’t get up for the regular 9am bell to begin with.  5:30 is straight-up inhuman y’all…you know it is.

Anyhow.  Life has a funny way of steering you in a direction towards where you truly belong…it can be one seriously fucked-up path, but generally, things seem to flow in a way that’ll eventually make sense.  Take Gibrilville for example…maybe the man can’t ball – so what?  Dude crushes as an emcee and thrives as a true student of the art of Hip-Hop…that’s plenty worth trading in a jersey for.  As for the Houston Rockets…they’ll sort things out too…we’ll get D’Antoni movin’ on to another team and we’ll climb back up to the top where we belong next season for sure…and a miracle could still happen in 2020 – you never know!  This season is far from over…I hope.  The point is…we quite often end up where we belong…you put the work in, you get the results…and if you don’t…next season is all there’ll ever be.

Goddamn I got a story to tell” – raps Gibrilville…and I’m over here like, hellz yeah, go get it homie.  “Love & Hiphop” instantly confirms what you’re listening to…in case you ended up here somehow by mistake…or if you’re looking for the current definition of RAP, keep it movin’ – this is real Hip-Hop we’re talking about when it comes to what Gibrilville creates.  And here’s what my eyes could tell ya before I even had my first experience with this record – the people out there sure are listening to this story he’s got on his mind – “Love & Hiphop” has been by far the most played cut on Black Cadillac Season 3 since it came out back in 2019, and it still currently holds the number one spot for the hit-count on this lineup.  Makes more than enough sense to me…I can fully get behind a track like this myself, I dig what I’m hearing on “Love & Hiphop” – it’s a lil’ loose overall perhaps…BUT…what might seem missing in a typical song structure is where you’ll find the heart of the art.  So Gibrilville isn’t necessarily so focused on creating something we’ve already heard a million times before and make this music business easy on himself – so WHAT?  We don’t need another cookie-cutter emcee on the m-i-c – we need leaders and innovative artists like Gibrilville…talents that are unafraid to break out of the sea of sameness with a real “story to tell” and the courage to tell it RIGHT.  That might mean unfiltered, that might mean anti-typical, that might mean explicit & expressive…it could be many things, and you’ll find that this dude uses everything he’s got to his advantage when it comes to making music.  As a result, a song like “Love & Hiphop ends up standing out immediately, not just because the vibe sounds great, but also because what you’ll hear is verifiably new to your ears…it’s clear that Gibrilville has committed to his style, 100%.

It doesn’t take too long into this set of songs at all to realize that this homie has challenged himself in ways that other artists just don’t – and the reason you KNOW that’s true, is because each experience, every cut on Black Cadillac Season 3, comes out with a fresh idea, sound, or collaboration that’s unlike the last track you heard.  Listen to “Gorilla” for an example of what I’m talking about – it’s a collabo featuring Kwaw Kese and Mantse Superfly…I don’t know exactly who does what for sure, but what I can tell ya, is that all three hold their own magnificently on the mic.  For real…Gibrilville has chosen wisely with his featured guests on this record – you’ll hear it on “Gorilla” through the strengths of the main hooks and the insightful balance between different vocals & styles you’ll hear contributing to this cut.  Tons of melody in “Gorilla,” which leads to tons of appeal when it comes to that chorus – and as far as the rest of the bars surrounding the hooks, you’ll find there’s personality & character fully present all throughout the lyrics.  It weaves in & out of social-commentary and thought-provoking words that’ll catch your attention for sure…ain’t no doubt that whether rappin’ or singin,’ this collaboration comes out with a strong WIN here on “Gorilla” – and if I’m being as real with ya as I always am, I gotta admit, as fantastic as the men on the mic are…to love this cut is to recognize the music & production plays an equally powerful role.  For REAL y’all…the selection of sounds here…sometimes mellow & jazzy, sometimes more edgy, intense, or even experimental…I mean goddamn Gibrilville – this is enticing yo!

Jeez.  I just managed to get my mind off of basketball, and there he is again bringing it up, name-dropping Lebron James on “So Painful,” reminding me that we (the holy Red Nation of H-Town) are about to face them next in the regular season.  And to think about how they’ve been playing verses how we’ve been playing…I’m hearing Gibrilville when he sings “I’m in pain, I’m in pain, I’m in pain” and I have no doubt that by this time next Saturday, life might be “So Painful” after a loss that I hide throughout the week afterwards.  Just sayin.’  I’m damn near 40…Houston plays around with my fuckin heartbeat too much bruh.  Aight…back to the music…”So Painful” is a strong cut for Gibrilville – you can feel the weight of the seriousness in this track start-up instantly, and it remains stoic in that gear throughout the entire song.  He gets more personal with ya on this cut, straight-up…this sounds like it all comes from a real place.  Or at least, it does eventually…he’s having a bit of verbal fun at the beginning, name-droppin’ & such while he’s stringing together a bunch of clever lines as “So Painful” begins – but listen to how it evolves quickly into a much bolder tale, much more based around real feelings & experience.  Like, does Lebron James need to be a part of this track?  Arguably, probably not…but we all gotta rap about something, right?  To me…it’s almost like two different levels of enjoyment…I get that he’s hittin’ this metaphorically as it starts…but for me personally, it was the more direct lyricism that hit the hardest as Gibrilville dialed-in, focused-up, and let the beast loose on the bars as the track continued on.  Hooks work though, ain’t no doubt about that…and musically, once again, he’s got a killer beat to rap along to.

“Trial & Error” was actually the first track I had ever heard from Gibrilville…back in 2018…which I suppose made this cut a lead-single from Black Cadillac Season 3; if I’ve got the timeline all correct, this song would have been released around six-months prior to the record dropping, maybe even a bit more.  A collaboration featuring Nathaniel – we posted up “Trial & Error” on the page here right away when we got a hold of it before the summer that year…and ultimately, it was the gateway into what Gibrilville can do…that’s where this journey into his music all really started.  And when you hear it for yourself, you’ll get it…you’ll know why this cut has the ability to pull ya in & want to listen to more – they pump out a noticeably single-worthy vibe throughout “Trial & Error” that reveals the sincerity & authenticity in what Gibrilville creates.  Armed with the vocal-hooks being sung by Nathaniel, together they put just as much heart as they did thought into this cut…”Trial & Error” keeps it fully real & relatable in the lyricism – and together, they’ve found a way to stock every moment of this track with a verifiable reason to listen to it.  Even now, about a year-and-change since I first heard this track, it still sounds fresh – and it certainly sounds like it belongs on this record with the range of diversity & vibrant material surrounding it.  Make sure to click this link right here and check out the video for “Trial & Error” posted up here at SBS in 2018 – but rest assured, this fits right into this lineup…not only that, I think this was a really wise inclusion.

Now…I’d be a fuckin’ idiot to pretend I get everything I hear all the time – I don’t.  I’m human, believe it or not, just like you.  Do I have any idea of what the hell is really going on in a cut like “Screwface (Remix)?”  No, of course I don’t!  Like I said, I’m days away from being in my 40’s officially here and these grey hairs don’t lie – “Screwface (Remix)” is modernized, stylistic, and slickly designed for Generation NOW…I might not have a freakin’ clue about half of what’s being rapped about – but I know an absolutely ILL performance when I hear one, and this is IT.  We don’t always need to know EVERYTHING…sometimes we just have to know what sounds really, really, really damn good – and in that sense, “Screwface (Remix)” is completely my jam.  Do I have any idea why Gibrilville is so pissed off at Microsoft and put that company in his crosshairs on this track?  Hell no!  Do I need to?  Also hell no!  Am I still enjoying myself?  You better fuckin’ believe it homies.  When it comes to cuts that a large portion of the people might have to watch fly right over their heads for the meanings of the words – what ends up connecting & resonating with us, is the passion & commitment in the performance.  “Screwface (Remix)” is MASSIVE when you factor all this in…you can’t get more into the moment than Gibrilville is on this cut.  At this point on the record, it’s the most decidedly different track in the set – and when you hear the stunning level of confidence, precision, power, and punch in these words, believe me…you’ll find one reason or another (and another) to love what you hear on “Screwface (Remix).”  Don’t get me wrong though…it’s WEIRD to have this much beef with Microsoft…just get yourself a Mac homies, problem solved.  You’re welcome.  Alright, alright…it’s not ALL about startin’ shit with Bill Gates…you’ll head right into the club on this cut as well – but undeniably, what’s working here on “Screwface (Remix)” the most, is the completely mix of mayhem and menacing sound.  I ain’t gonna pretend that I ‘get it’ – I just know what I love, and I love this cut.

For the first time in three ‘seasons’ since Gibrilville began this conquest, the title inspiration makes itself known on “Black Cadillac.”  Pay close attention here…the man will tell you a ton of what he’s all about, where he’s come from, what he’s been through…and where he’s headed in his “Black Cadillac.”  He’s been through good times & bad, he’s made his money in ways most wouldn’t dare – and somehow, despite all the odds stacked against him, Gibrilville has turned everything around in his favor, and the man is thriving.  Definitely a cut with a ton of appeal and a strong core message; it might be rooted in a lot of personal details that apply specifically to him, but make no mistake – this applies to us all in many ways…”Black Cadillac” either preaches directly about rising above it all, or it at the very least implies it, simply by the fact that Gibrilville is here doing what he does to this very day.  Dude’s keeping the flavor flowing on this record…you couldn’t possibly dispute that in listening to Black Cadillac Season 3 – there’s been such an impressive & radiant selection of sounds throughout this album and “Black Cadillac” flexes some of the most versatile we’ve heard to this point so far.  Like for real, LISTEN to this beat will ya?  It’s far from typical…to the point where I’d imagine it’d probably scare a few emcees right off for the sheer challenge it would present, yet this is where Gibrilville is shining brightest at his most diverse & creative.  BIG bright hooks fuel the chorus as he glides through his history on “Black Cadillac” and gives you some incredible insight into what’s made him the man he is today.  Definitely as catchy as it is informative – it’s a nostalgic trip down memory lane, and a tight title-track to seriously be proud of – this cut is nailed.

He’s been drinkin’ and he’s been smokin’ – and he’s “Rolling” his way to victory on one of the record’s most unique cuts.  It’s listed as an “Accapella” track…but what he really means is that this track essentially lives & dies right there at the microphone…it’s up to Gibrilville to pull this one off for the most part.  There is music surrounding him…which…well…that takes the “Accapella” thing outta the running, but like I said, the success of this song all comes down to how he’s approached this cut.  There’s no question he’s pretty much out there on his own when it comes to the majority of what you’ll hear – but I can’t just let the sample, music, and atmospheric elements of this cut not get their due credit either…because it all fits perfectly, creating a vibe that’ll literally & audibly hang right off your bones.  Long after the song is over, you’ll still feel the effects of a song like “Rolling” crawlin’ all over ya…and I think you really gotta give the man on the mic his props too – Gibrilville noticeably switches up just about everything you can think of when it comes to how he sounds in performing this cut, and it’s because of this that the entire song stands out brilliantly.  Like I said, there’s sound, but not much – just enough to haunt the atmosphere a lil’ bit and create the vibe – from there, Gibrilville ends up taking this fairly blank canvas, and creates a cut you can’t wash off ya.  As subtle as it may appear, there’s no doubt this is one of his most powerful and inspired turns on the mic, and a highly memorable moment on the album that boldly strengthens the entire lineup.  Tracks like this can be an artistic gamble of sorts – and with the resounding victory Gibrilville finds on this cut, you realize these chances he takes are worth it; in fact, you’ll probably come to the same conclusion I did…nothing this guy does is any kind of gamble at all.  Dude knows what he’s doing – and he’s rewarded creatively for going after his ambitions – tracks like “Rolling” reveal the extraordinary depths you’ll find in the material & music Gibrilville is making.  Fantastic use of layers & effects on the vocals in this tune…it’s so much more involved than it appears.

I’m just sayin,’ if “Rolling” is “Accappella” (which it ain’t) than “It’s All Right” sure as hell ain’t far behind.  With a synth-swell in full-effect and the slightest of percussion to keep the beat, Gibrilville has got the energy dialed-back pretty far on this album with these two tracks coming back-to-back, but I like what I hear.  I think that when it comes to “It’s All Right” – we’re in some of the strangest territory you’ll find on the record…it’s kinda beyond loose, it’s charting its own course.  Anytime ya go for something as decidedly different as this track is, chances are, you’re going to challenge a few listeners beyond their normal comfort zone.  There can be value in that too for sure – take me for instance…I’m a fan of what I’m hearing on “It’s All Right,” even though I can acknowledge that this would be a track that’s harder for the everyday listener to grasp.  “It’s All Right” finds itself a stylistically flashy sound & sticks with it; for 3:30+, we ride with Gibrilville through this track without hesitation, because each part of the song is genuinely interesting & loaded with texture.  Ultimately, I’d probably argue it’s even more bare-bones than “Rolling (Accapella)” was beforehand…but certainly no less enticing to listen to.  For completely different reasons mind you, but highly listenable in both cases.  Ideally, you wanna be able to find some space to get your strut on if you’re checking out “It’s All Right” – as low-key & chill as it can be, it’s still got a lot of rhythm & groove at its core that’s bound to get ya movin’ – and you know people love that.

The energy, intensity, melody, and message all snap back to Black Cadillac Season 3 with “Siren.”  Featuring some of his most impressive lyricism and insightful social commentary – it might be a song with more pep in its step, but listen to the weight of these words will ya?  “Siren” is the kind of track I wish everyone out there had a chance to listen to one day…it’s the kind of cut that goes far beyond just being another great track to listen to, and becomes something altogether more important that the people need to hear.  Featuring supreme hooks from Arra in the chorus – she does a solid job & I’d never take any points away from what she brings to this track, but to me, it’s the words of these verses & bars that make this track stand out as hard and powerfully as it does.  I mean…don’t get me wrong, I’ll be singing Arra’s hooks on “Siren” all week long for sure – I’m just saying that there’s no doubt that Gibrilville has also put in some of his most impressive lyrics to this track as well…words that should not, cannot, and will not be ignored.  It’s definitely without question one of the most successful collaborations on this album and a highly memorable moment that makes the impact it’s intended to; you take these words in easy because of how catchy the flow & melody are – but they stick with you because of what they mean, what they question, what they represent, and the fact that Gibrilville has the courage to spit the truth.  I think anyone with an actual heart beating in their chest has gotta respond to the words “I can’t breathe” with the same gut-churning reaction I always feel…I’ll never hear those words the same way after the Eric Garner case…and as hard as they may be to take, I hope they stick with each & every one of you out there as much as they have with me.  Because we ALL have to remember what happened…and we have to be as on guard as we can be to make sure it doesn’t ever happen again.  Love how Gibrilville is using his platform for something so much more than his own gain with the material he makes…this is an emcee that’s ready to lead the way to the changes we all need.

And alright, alright…Arra needs more props than I’ve already given her…she’s crushin’ this cut, 100% – she’s got a gorgeous singing voice, and knows when to flex the melody & power in the words she sings.  Chances are, for many of you out there, this song contains some of the album’s most addictive hooks.

Alongside Pablo G, Solystic, and Kat Bill, Gibrilville and his crew of talent put their case for humanity on display through a unified front & another highly successful collaboration found on Black Cadillac Season 3.  Lyrically, there’s no way you could miss the messages you’ll find throughout “No Man Alone” – it’s a true plea for people to start thinking about the planet we want to be living on & how we get it there.  It’s not written from the perspective that the world is burning, so much as it’s about how the bridges we create between each other are the most in danger for getting burned.  From societal issues to personal ones, Gibrilville and his posse feel the weight of this moment, feel the seriousness, and seize the opportunity to educate the masses.  “No Man Alone” is loaded with insights that the people out there need to hear…and perhaps most importantly, reminds us that it’s up to US to change the situation we’re in.  Sure there’s a political system we’re all more or less trapped inside of…but it’s tracks like “No Man Alone” that take the time to sharpen our focus, dial-in on the target, and keep our minds aware that as a unified entity, there’s nothing that can ever stop the positivity of the people.  “No man is an island” as they remind ya in the hooks of “No Man Alone” – and before you get all up on your inclusivity high-horse, understand it’s metaphorical and applies to us all.  Woman or man, it’s about connecting to each other and joining forces as we shift this floating rock we’re on towards the better tomorrow we deserve.  Bouncing in between the layers as it plays, Pablo G, Solystic, Kat Bill, and Gibrilville show up at multiple points along the way, backing each other up without fear, audibly display the unity they’re speaking on.

Sometimes, when you’re ahead of the game…and you KNOW it…it can’t help but make ya laugh a lil’ bit, know what I mean?  While the rest out there spin their creative wheels in the metaphorical mud, Gibrilville has been surging throughout this whole record in an effort to prove he’s right where he belongs.  Hearing his supreme confidence, superb style, and the fluid flow of his words on “Hahahaha” was a rad experience…the whole vibe of the record eases up on the firm grip of seriousness it’s had on ya for the last couple cuts, and restores the party atmosphere.  All the while giving your mind something meaty to chew on of course…you should be used to that in Gibrilville’s lyricism at this point for sure; you know he’s got something that’s as thought-provoking as it is entertaining y’all – that’s how he does what he’s doin’ yo!  Call it his signature style if you like – or go further than that & recognize this has always been the essential combination for what makes REAL Hip-Hop great.  “Hahahaha” for the vast majority, is right on the money – especially when it comes to the energy, attitude, and bars in the verses of this cut.  It’s not entirely goin’ down without a hitch here…and it’s a matter of just how closely the people end up listening to this one that’s likely going to determine whether this song ends up connecting as much as it perhaps should be.  Vocally…if you’re right with this one, you’ll notice a bit of dissonance creeps into this melody as he hits the hooks…it’s effective in the songwriting, and ultimately I don’t think I heard anything that most listeners wouldn’t cruise right by without really noticing…but for those paying close attention, you’ll find just the slightest dip in focus and objectivity here.  Standing back from “Hahahaha” and looking at it from beginning to end…I mean, the main hooks are so strong you’d never wanna toss this – and those main hooks are in the verse if you ask me.  As far as the chorus goes…there’s a chance a couple more runs in the vocal booth could have smoothed this track out just that 1% more it needed to make the whole difference.  “It is what it is,” as he’ll tell ya on “Hahahaha.”

LISTEN to the way that “Buy My Mama A Crib” comes out will ya?  This cut swings BIG and makes an immediate impact through a killer mix of melody and straight-up edgy sound – you can’t help but feel this track.  Really smart inclusions in this cut…from the wicked guitars, to the bright piano melodies, to the brilliantly authentic record-scratches keeping the energy coming at ya in solid sonic bursts, to the added saxophone at the beginning…everything stacks up quickly into supercharged entertainment that shows the main star of the show surging at the mic on one of the most humble tracks on Black Cadillac Season 3.  I’ll tell ya what my experience has taught me over the years…and that’s that you don’t end up writing a song like “Buy My Mama A Crib” unless ya really mean it – and you can hear that sincerity you’re looking for in the way that Gibrilville raps this one out.  Listen closely to the words…listen to how he spits them with full commitment & passion blazing on display…ain’t no doubt that he means every word he’s penned to this track.  Many of you out there will admire the sentiment & rightly so – others out there might not connect as quickly to the theme depending on their own family relations, but there’s also no doubt that the explosive energy and straight-up gripping sound flowing rapidly throughout “Buy My Mama A Crib” is designed to catch everyone’s attention…and keep it locked.  Musically, it’s about as wild as it gets and certainly one of the most amped-up cuts you’ll find on Black Cadillac Season 3 as well…personally, I think everything I hear stands out when it comes to this track.  I like that we get to know the man behind the mic a bit more here – “Buy My Mama A Crib” not only speaks volumes on behalf of where the mindset & motivation of this emcee is at, it also sounds amazing.

Where are Biggie & Tupac?” – you’ll hear that pop up in the mix of the “Black Cadillac (Remix)” at the end of the record as Gibrilville takes us back to one of the most memorable experiences  on this record to bring it all home and tie this whole theme together one last time before the lineup is officially over.  I’ve always said there’s a risk in having one track appear two times on one record – and fundamentally, I’m always going to subscribe to that theory…by simple math & logistics, it only makes sense that every time an artist or band does this, it can jeopardize the longevity of one cut in comparison to the rest.  That being said…it’s not such a factor that it ever seems to stop us all from doing this at some point or another throughout a career…and sometimes, just sometimes, you end up with a cut as strong and diverse as “Black Cadillac” is, that a remix offers a whole different chance to dig on what’s been created, or at least gives you the opportunity to appreciate it from a completely new angle.  Between the incredible heat generated by the drums, the colorful & vibrant sound of the trumpets, true beauty in the piano, and charisma created on the guitars…believe me, you’ll find the finale to this album that you’re hoping for in bringing back “Black Cadillac” for one last spin in remix form at the end.  Ultimately, it’s a really strong cut on Black Cadillac Season 3 no matter what version you latch onto – and I think it’s fully because of how bulletproof, innovative, and creative a track like this is that’s gonna have it hold up over time, even if you hear this cut at a 2:1 ratio compared to the rest.  Gibrilville’s put incredible instincts & skill on display throughout this whole record…and he wasn’t scared of the idea of putting one of his best right up front twice to make sure you’re all paying the attention ya should be – the “Black Cadillac (Remix)” wraps this effort up tightly…and confirms that the creativity you’ve heard along the way is surging right to the very last moments of this album, assuring you there’s still SO MUCH MORE to come from Gibrilville in the future.  The man makes music that’s bound to last – he’s got a great record here.

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