The iconic duo of Madlib and Freddie Gibbs delivered a searing set at Kentish Town Forum on October 26th. We headed down to witness the power of MadGibbs.

Calling your tour ‘The Album of the Year Tour’ is a bold statement, but then again, Freddie Gibbs and Madlib, aka MadGibbs, are as bold as hip-hop duos come. Gracing the stage of the O2 Forum Kentish Town this October, the pair entered a dimly lit stage to rapturous applause, wielding a joint as if it were the holy grail. Soon the audience would be indulged in a journey through some of the pair’s most celebrated hits, and witness a rap show unlike any other. 

Following a stellar psychedelic trip from support act The Heliocentrics, Madlib appeared on stage and immediately faced a few minor difficulties. Despite the hiccups, things were swiftly forgotten as Freddie Gibbs emerged from the darkness, cloaked in a blue light, like some long-awaited prophet.

The sanctimonious celebration of liquor-filled hedonism had begun, and the palpable energy of a cult legend and soon-to-be superstar was unstoppable. Gibbs had the audience in the palm of his hand throughout, flexing raw verses with his signature gruff tone and technical prowess, to Madlib’s funk-fuelled beats.

Throughout the set, the rapper and producer delivered hit after hit, with breaks to joke together and trade-friendly insults like two brothers. Despite Gibbs admitting that they never had a clear setlist and he had, “no fucking clue” what track Madlib would choose to play next, he remained unfettered. Moments of power shone through though, as ‘Half Manne Half Cocaine’ from the duo’s latest project Bandana was met with an eruption from the crowd as Gibbs rapped cinematic verses like, “Half man, half cocaine / I just hit a bank and did the David Blaine / One foot in the booth, one in the fuckin’ cage.”

Then there was ‘Flat Tummy Tea’, where the crowd provocatively chanted along to Gibbs as he declares, “I took the sword and knocked white Jesus off his horse!” A rather appropriate metaphor given the transcendent presence Gibbs exuded on stage. 

This was heightened by a flash of jaw-dropping acapella. As ‘Deeper’ came on and the audience continued to jump, a silence struck, when Madlib hit pause and left Gibbs to rap on his own. Keeping the pace, he struck his audience with the bars, “I reminisce on all the crazy shit we did / You and me forever, shit we’d say when we was kids / She said “I’m havin’ problems and I pray that he forgive”” just allowing the words to flow over, fully demonstrating his old-school talent. 

MadGibbs flexed a no-fucks-given attitude and technical prowess that affirms them as one of hip-hop’s finest. Their live shows showcase an undeniable chemistry, both personally and professionally, between Madlib’s slick beats and Gibb’s raw talent. The result feels like history in the making.