Like a broken rose, Pink Siifu can either be a concrete stomper like on tracks like “Wayans Bros.” or “Roscoe’!” but then he shows another side with “Living Proof (Family),” or his opening track, “Gumbo’! 4 tha Folks, Hold On.” His twisted caricature on GUMBO’!’s album cover reflects to these samples from hip-hop gold mines like KMD where lines of late-night TV shows and movies flash into the mind.
The production that follows on “Gumbo’! 4 tha Folks, Hold On” is smooth and layered to be this loving caress of authentic and waving bass lines. Glimmering like Soul Train after hours, Pink Siifu is an example piece of how to sculpt an identity within sound, and bend those lines to be an ever-changing and morphing portrait.
Especially on the transition from “Wayan Bros.” to “Roscoe’!” where the line describes, “You catch a nigga off guard with this shit” before an 808 assault hits the speakers. The reactions of the audience’s faces at the record release show at Elsewhere were priceless, similar to the vocal sample beforehand, the reactions really were just caught completely off guard. If music could be equivalated to martial arts, “Roscoe’!” is a leg sweep, finding everyone off-balance in auditory range.
Much of GUMBO’! is covered in these transitional periods with tracks like “Pink & Green, White & Gold” that tie a minute or two of an instrumental paired with a sample of spoken word or rhyme. While Pink Siifu isn’t actually present for most of these, they continue this story of the Alabamian native and how perspective changes as the years pile on.
And it follows to the music on “Living Proof (Family)” where a sleepy vocal delivery over this angelic instrumental is enough to bring tears to the eyes. Based entirely on production alone, “Living Proof (Family)” is this droning and spacious tiptoe toward funeral parlors and clouds.
While Pink Siifu describes, “Death the only thing that ain’t made up, my momma say ‘baby hope you saving up.’ Rest in peace the homie, devil keep me safe from.” Truly a midpoint effort, GUMBO’! is able to relate to the name.
In some ways and moments, GUMBO’! is a spice-filled dish that punches holes in the skull and creates a mosh pit from thin air. Then at other times, the very same record is more approachable in palate but never fearing having an edge too much.