Pink Siifu isnâ€™t afraid to push conventions and make people feel uncomfortable. His last album, NEGRO, addressed political affairs through the eyes of Black America. Siifu used a variety of sounds to trigger a range of emotions, employing freeform jazz that was hellacious and chaotic, evoking the same paranoia and anxiety experienced by Black Americans due to police brutality.
His use of punk rock embodied the boiling anger and tensions of a targeted community. With NEGRO, Siifu created a body of work that wasnâ€™t meant for the faint of heart, instead, inducing cardiac arrest to those oppressing Black lives. Siifuâ€™s latest album, GUMBOâ€™!, poses one question: What does gumbo sound like? Siifuâ€™s answer is a melting pot of jazz, trap, and neo-soul to add as ingredients for his own musical stew.
A spoonful of gumbo evokes feelings of warmth and comfort in spaces shared with loved ones. That same sentiment is applied throughout the projectâ€™s 18-song tracklist thanks to a slew of features from Siifuâ€™s close friends (Liv.e, Maxo) and those he considers inspirational (Big Rube, Georgia Anne Muldrow). As he approaches the end of his 20s and anticipates the arrival of his child, GUMBOâ€™! acts as his last hoorah before entering the realm of fatherhood.
GUMBOâ€™! plays like a post-pandemic BBQ, where friends and families havenâ€™t interacted over a long stretch of time. Itâ€™s spontaneous and meaningful where every moment comes and goes like flashes of euphoria. The same music meant to provide closeness is the same music able to keep a party going. Whether fans are in need of an elevation of spirit or a moment to let loose of your inhibitions, Siifu is the arbiter of feel-good southern hospitality.
NEGRO found Siifu experiencing emotional epiphanies by the end of each track, but GUMBOâ€™! is his healing process; his chicken noodle soup for the soul. On the album opener, â€œGumboâ€™! 4 tha Folks, Hold On,â€ which features appearances from Liv.e, V.C.R, Nick Hakim, and DJ Harrison, he croons his way through memories, reminiscing about days of wide smiles and childhood innocence. The Dungeon Familyâ€™s Big Rube recites a poem at the end of the track, bringing elders and the youth together, dubbing it â€œgumbo.â€ Itâ€™s not the first time Rubeâ€™s poetry narrates a song, becoming a constant key to connecting the trauma of Black Americans young and old.
Siifu is able to reconstruct genres into his own vision. On â€œWayans Bros,â€ the production dances between trap and industrial, like if Kanye Westâ€™s Yeezus was composed in the south. In the first ten seconds, Peso Gordon opens the track with his sights on the police, â€œBuy me a Glock to shoot at the cops.â€ Anti-police themes have always been a key aspect in Siifuâ€™s music and GUMBOâ€™ is no exception. He follows Pesoâ€™s lead with â€œfuck 12, all of the copsâ€ delivered in Siifuâ€™s signature whisper, rapping as if he was sharing a secret over a pay phone. â€œRoscoeâ€™!â€ is no different. Instead of trap drums and a looped beat, itâ€™s led by a deafening bass line that could rattle steel off of scaffolding.
GUMBOâ€™! pays homage to Siifuâ€™s influences. Like on â€œScurrrrd,â€ when Big Rube opens with a poem on the journey of finding the best version of oneself and being scared to live, then moments later Siifu jumps in with sultry raps over jazz horns and a light snare and snap drum. The track calls back to Outkastâ€™s â€œ13th Floor/Growing Oldâ€ off of ATLiens, which also features an intro from Big Rube, another showcase of Siifuâ€™s intentional melting pot of influences.
GUMBOâ€™ is arguably Siifuâ€™s greatest work to date. Itâ€™s an album thatâ€™s accessible but never treads on its underground street cred or lessens the dusty aesthetic to conform. Itâ€™s compact with moments of wonder, tenderness and fun folded into each other. GUMBOâ€™! is as complete as it is essential to Siifuâ€™s discography.
With Siifuâ€™s stock continuing to grow, GUMBOâ€™! represents a level-up moment, a true step forward in his career. They say you lose your window as you grow older but if Boldy James and Freddie Gibbs have proven anything, itâ€™s that age can refine a person. Add Pink Siifu to the list.
@PinkSiifu has an Album OTY contender. This is incredibly beautiful, and needs to be in everyoneâ€™s rotation. Press play and let the entire thing ride. Siifu if you see this, thank you man. pic.twitter.com/4SeIzARzyi
â€” It Just Be Like That Sometimes (@geeezy321) October 15, 2021
This Pink Siifu Gumbo album is a treat for the ear drums
â€” â–²Norrin Radd with the Bag (@eyetraveler) August 2, 2021
Pink Siifu â€“ GUMBO’!
â€” DÃ¸nny Ã˜uthawayâš•ï¸ (@ethalthadon) August 16, 2021