Azizi Gibson released his third project in as many years, Memoirs of the Reaper on May 9, 2017. The 11 track album is a cohesive plunge into Gibson’s vices melded with eerie, murky production organized in part by long-time collaborator Kamandi.
Opening with a speech as the Reaper himself, Gibson narrates a mesmerizing journey into his intoxicated lifestyle, best summarized on the “Intro” by, “It’s only 1:30, damn it’s real early.” Memoirs details an existence of debauchery characterized by slowed and exaggerated delivery and hazy production peppered by Gibson’s fondness for video game and anime references. A former representative of Flying Lotus’ Brainfeeder label, Gibson’s delivery and lyrical structure is at times reminiscent of Captain Murphy or Bastard era Tyler, The Creator. Devilish bars like those found on “Lost” narrate the Reaper tempting women (who are seemingly narrated by Gibson as well) into the depths of his lust, encompassed by drugs, sex and… Nintendo.
Gibson’s fondness for injecting his partiality for anime and video games into his tracks makes for a lyrical stew, as adolescent games of Mario Kart and Mario Party are swirled into Gibson’s adult-themed cravings. References to “Sliding like joy-cons” or knowing “Naruto’s moves” segment the deluge of lustful imagery on Memoirs to good effect. Most evident on “Nintendo King,” a track detailing a Mario themed strip/sex game, Gibson does a great job of merging both of these worlds, as he guarantees victory by playing as Peach to secure an intimate evening. Gibson plays up these shameless aspirations and across the project, touting his wealth as on “Baka (Wise Words)” or contemplating his death as on “High,” which, at first listen, seem to foretell his cyclical and empty existence.
Only on the final track does Gibson find something of a Nirvana, as he pleasantly reflects on his life despite the ever-present negativity. The motivational timbre of “Levels” draws on unrestrained melodies and variable synth work characteristic of a festival anthem that leaves Gibson, and thereby the Reaper gratified after swirling through doubt and depression on the former ten tracks.