In a time where finding a unique and individual sound is becoming a harder challenge, Gibrilville doesn’t lay down and take the generic route at all. On The Foreigner J.J.C, Gibril fuses together modern hip-hop elements from American and African influences, culminating into a wild blend of sound. Over the 17 tracks, Gibril steps up to the plate with exceptional production as he relays his message and story to us in a project that has his passion pouring out of every song.
“Foreign Exchange Hustler” might be the least unique track on the album, but that doesn’t harm it in any way and makes for a solid opener. The hidden guitar riffs layered beneath the beat are the nice subtle touches of production made that are the icing on top of the track. These type of decisions show strong musicality and are spread throughout all of The Foreigner. You get a taste of the cultured world Gibril lives in as he rhymes all over the beat in French, a big highlight that happens on other tracks as well. This is a feel good track, all about feeling yourself and embracing the moment, like coming to the U.S. as a new artist and living your dreams. Check the video below:
The next track, “We Are Going to Make It” transitions into a more grimy vibe, and the grind and struggle is brought out on the hook echoing “on the street corner / we hustle for dollar.” This helps paint the picture of the grind and struggle Gibril went through to make it this far. During this first half of the album I noticed similarities in vocals that are reminiscent of Akon. While this isn’t bad from a vocals standpoint, there was also similarities in lyrics, especially with the tracks “Bad Girl” and “SEXY LADY” back to back. These two tracks seemed to take me out of the unique sound Gibril creates on the album. They were just too typical in the sense of talking about women. Spacing them out might have had a better effect, because “SEXY LADY” actually has a nice beat to it. That’s where The Foreigner could use most the improvement, is the lyrics. At times they seem to fall flat and don’t always flow together in the most cohesive way. That doesn’t mean there aren’t nice rhymes on the album though, because there definitely are.
The biggest thing that stuck out on this album was the production. Gibril incorporates so many elements of sound on each track. From reggae influences, to techno, to what sounds like some Jimmi Hendrix, this album has a little bit of everything. You apply all these aspects of musicality over a hip-hop beat and it’s really something special. There are also a lot of vocal efforts that stand out, such as the girl singing on “Take Your Life” or the “Ma Cherie” remix, which could be the best track on the whole album. It takes a slower tempo approach compared to the other tracks, but you can’t help but fall into the smoothness of the beat that feels like the first day of Spring, and then when Faraji comes in with his amazing falsetto it creates chills.
The pride Gibril takes in his heritage is very apparent on the album, and the album captures his essence very well. This type of diverse music is hard to come by, and Gibrilville put together a collection that shows versatility and talent. The album had tracks that are intriguing and enjoyable to listen to, with well done beats and catchy hooks. However, there are still some tracks I would leave out of the rotation. At times some of the songs can sound a little too cluttered, or the vocals aren’t meshing with the music. With that said, I still recommend giving this record a listen for its sheer diverseness of sound.