Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Album Review: Big Freedia - Central City

Big Freedia 
Central City
**** out of *****

The Queen Diva returns from a nine year break since her debut full length, 2014's Just Be Free. Central City is an ode to bounce, hip hop, New Orleans and more as Big Freedia throws it back fiercely throughout the head bopping, gut busting, ass shaking LP.

Freedia has of course released music, but now comes a full offering that combines his worlds and holds up well throughout the sixteen track, forty five minute run time, and while there are a few very high profile guests, Central City is all Big Freedia. Opening with the strong "Central City Freestyle" the bounce heavy beats blast out ominously, as if shaking that ass was the most important thing in the world...and it just might be. 

That feeling flows directly into "Big Thyme" as danger lurks in the bass while digital bleeps rampage around and Freedia drops some NOLA inspired lyrics. Some of the more direct, conventional tracks lag such as "Life Lessons" and "Motivate Ya" (featuring Kelly Price) both seemingly out of place on the record. 

However, two of the strongest tracks are fairly straight ahead as well, "Bitch You Want" (featuring Faith Evans) brings it back to hip-hop's glory years with a dynamite all around effort while "El Niño" (featuring Lil Wayne and Boyfriend) is a standout number with Weezy cramming bar after bar into his allotted slot; the only negative here is the track could have gone on even longer and still been bad ass. 

Another winner is the pop/bounce gem of "$100 Bill" (featuring Ciara) matching the sweet voice of Ciara with the bombastic Freedia was a deft touch as producers Glasper, MadisonLST, and Max & Kyle spun gold. Freedia's hip-hop leanings push in the right direction as "Pop That" flourishes with huge beats, and "Bigfoot" slams with the most monstrous bass recorded in years; these drops go deep. Even when Freedia strips down for more minimalist modern hip-hop/r&b on "You Already Know" (featuring Sonyae) there are still percussive bounce parts to the procedures.  

"Throw It Back" slams out the bounce Freedia is famous for while also getting funny and catty to end, the humor continues on the record's intermission as Freedia gets down with "Pepto Interlude" which is just what it says it is, over bumping beats. 

That bounce style has infiltrated mainstream since Freedia first burst on the scene, but The Queen Diva still knows how to get the asses moving and the hardcore bounce appeal plays out on a number of great bangers here including "NOLA Babies" and "Booty Like A Drummer" while "Gin In My System" goes above and beyond, overloading the track with vocals, beats and layers upon layers of sound in positive, futuristic fashion.   

A long time coming, Big Freedia returns to the top of the bounce mountain and beyond with her/his party popping, winning album, Central City. 
Support the artist, buy the album and peep some video below:

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