Location: Brooklyn, New York
For fans of: Akon, Rock City, 50 Cent
Life isn’t easy for a lot of people around the world and in some respects, we get to see this through the words of guys like Gibrilville (Gibril). The Africa native/Brooklyn resident, shares what life is like for a young inner-city black man who has not had the world handed to him on a silver platter.
On his latest release, The Foreigner JJC Deluxe, Gibril offers a hefty mix of reality and superficiality that will capture the minds of those who can relate to this lifestyle. Of the 16 tracks available on The Foreigner JJC Deluxe, it is Gibril’s song with M1 of Dead Prez titled, “Streets of Africa” that stood out most to me. M1’s delivery and lyrics are exactly what I expected, AAA+. The music is melodramatic enough to set the mood needed to speak of how dangerous and corrupt life is for the people living in certain areas of the African continent. From lyrics about widespread gun violence, no police protection, civil unrest, and political corruption, to American greed and barbarism, this song really goes deep into just how messed up the world is outside of the lush green landscapes of suburban middle-class life in the U.S.
While Gibrilville does offer reality checks like “Streets of Africa” and “Long Road”, he also falls into the cookie-cutter mindlessness that has become rap music – where guys celebrate the exploitation of low self-esteem females and brag about ridiculous club excursions. If I’m being real about it, from one hood dude to another, I was less than impressed by the rest of the songs on The Foreigner JJC Deluxe. If Gibril’s goal is to break out and find any real success financially through his music, he’s going to have to broaden his subject matter to include things that people like me – who are from the hood but don’t hang out in clubs, objectify women, and tote guns – can relate to. If that’s not his aim, then he hit the nail on the head with this release and shouldn’t change a thing.