From the beginning of Gibbs’ journey, he has always been a monument in lyrical ability and production, incredibly distinctive and able to stand out from the crowd; You Only Live 2wice is no different. The opening track, “20 Karat Jesus” is a bombastic return to the stage where he belonged after so much time. “20 Karat Jesus” is also a two-part track that first begins with Gibbs launching a lyrical assault that shows little time to let his flow breathe. He repeatedly drops lyric after lyric while keeping an impressive level of word play on his lines that includes his outlook on how he became the Freddie Gibbs he is today, “Thug in the pen, I need forgiveness. I’m livin’ like every decision a sin. I know my niggas don’t want me to win, Jealousy, choppin’ off all my friends.” Gibbs also has a line where he explains, “I peel 100 dope like the poppy seed in Afghanistan. I been to drop my nuts but these cabbage hands do damage, nigga, Rips from the clip leave you stiff, mannequin challenge, nigga.” Gibbs has always managed to balance a level of realism and metaphor/simile into his lyrics that makes him become one of the most interesting artists in music right now.
You Only Live 2wice feels like a hit song after hit song, Freddie Gibbs has really done an outstanding job on choosing his sound production and making substantial lyrics that illustrate a sense of personal story and a sense of the world around Gibbs. On the track “Crushed Glass,” Gibbs explains in a few sections about his unfortunate and unlawful prison sentence where he was eventually acquitted of Sexual Assault Charges in Vienna, Austria. Gibbs explains, “’Round the world, jail system like a slave trade, nigga. Got me in this foreign prison, monkey in a cage, nigga.” Gibbs then moves through his verse explaining his story of being locked up in the Austrian prison, missing tour date shows and barely eating. There is however a shining light at the end of his sentence as Gibbs explains, “Gangsta G, I fucked the industry, them crackers say I’m too aggressive, I turned myself into a boss without a fuckin’ question.” While extremely blunt in his delivery, Freddie Gibbs drops more insight into his personal feelings and what he came from, showing how to improve and overcome adversity.
Gibbs continues on through You Only Live 2wice, continually bringing in more and more power into each track until he reaches “Amnesia” which is the closest thing to becoming a club record from Gibbs. The booming 808’s are fantastic and the production is truly the most important thing on this track. The way that Gibbs attacks on the instrumental is intriguing and it is the lines “I just did 50 cities in a row, back to back Benz Bentley in a row, Slangin’ that dog sign to the row. I don’t play households, gotta go.” While the track is not one of the strong points of You Only Live 2wice, it is easily approachable and nearly everyone can listen to it, but does not harness the musical prowess that Gibbs displays on the following track, “Andrea.”
More subtle and smoother than previous tracks, “Andrea” is more of a smoky style of production that becomes more focused on the bass that resembles a more authentic method and is a welcome change from the usual sound of attacking instrumentals. The second portion of “Andrea” does include a slowed, more aggressive style of instrumental, but it is again a welcome change as it only lasts for a few moments before launching into “Phone Lit” and the final track of the eight-track saga, “Homesick.”