Pink Siifu is one of the most revered and respected independent artists of this generation, and for good reason. Other than his infectious love and positivity he exudes throughout his work, the Birmingham, Alabama artist knows how to make incredibly varied, textured and memorable music. I’ve been following his artistry since about 2013, and with every release, I have seen him blossom into this mosaic of different sounds and influences, taking inspiration from his contemporaries, and legends before him that have led the way for his matured creativity. Whether we’re taking about 2018’s incredibly soulful and spiritual ensley, or the fiery, angry and socially conscious NEGRO, the talented creative polymath is now taking steps to define his legacy with music that is simply put – timeless. When someone asks about genre-defining artists and music, Pink Siifu’s name is the first that comes up and it’s not even close. 2021 is already special, as he’s about to become a father to twin girls, so he’s already won this year. But from a musical perspective, his new project GUMBO’! is to me, his most defined and mature body of work to date.
Like his other bodies of work, the charm of this project is rooted in its versatility and unpredictability, with sounds ranging from smooth and reflective such as on “Gumbo’! 4 tha Folks, Hold On” and “Scurrrd” featuring Big Rube, Nick Hakim, Asal Hazel and Georgia Anne Muldrow, to the dynamic, bouncy records “Bussin’ (Cold)” featuring Turich Benjy and “BACK’!” (one of my favourites on the album). The music is restless, always shifting from groove to groove, with varying melodies that sound equally as captivating as anything he’s ever done. As someone who pursued theater and dance in college, he sure knows how to make cinematic, theatrical music. The Alchemist-produced “Living Proof (Family)” is a reflective, soulful and melodic moment on the album, as he floats on this angelic beat, philosophizing about how “Death the only thing that ain’t made up”. It’s a transcendent moment on the album, capturing the aura of his music and the mantra of his music. He’s created his own creative and musical world, filled with love around him and a reassurance that despite what happens in his life, things are gonna be alright. The lastnamedavid & Osagie produced “Fk U Mean / Hold me Dwn” is another highlight for me, with a bass-heavy first beat that transitions into these synth keys that provide an aura to the soundscape that is just incredibly poignant. I feel a big OutKast and Goodie Mob influence at times throughout this project, and as far as sequencing goes, it’s pretty flawless throughout. “lng hair dnt care” produced by Ted Kamal is another exceptional moment on the album, while the Monte Booker-produced “Voicemails Uptown” featuring Turich Benjy, Lance Skiiwalker, Jaybee Lamahj, V.C.R and Nelson Bandela is another beautiful moment. “How can I lose” is the motto, and the second half of the track, with it’s drum and percussion-led groove is fantastic, and leads the way for “Big Ole” featuring BbyMutha, who probably has my favourite verse on the entire project. The snares and beat on that track is so catchy, and way BbyMutha flows on that beat is absolutely perfect. The Notwolfy-produced closer “Play On’! Inshallah” featuring Liv.e and Kamilah is soulful and reflective, with infectious guitar leads and live drumming captures the raw and free-spirited energy that I’ve come to love about Pink Siifu’s music, and it’s a great, great way to conclude such a dense, dynamic and fascinating listen.
There are so many other things I could say about this project, but I’ll say this – I’ve been enjoying the fuck outta this album. Whether it’s the mesmeric and utterly beautiful D’Angelo-inspired melody of “Scurrrd” or the abrasive Ted Kamal-produced “Roscoe’!“, there’s a sound for every mood and style. As I mentioned before in the review, Pink Siifu defies genre and characterisation, and GUMBO’! is the perfect amalgamation of his artistic maturity, incredible knack for delving into new musical territories and creating something truly breathtaking out of it. It’s a stellar body of work, and in my view, his most complete album to date. Well done bro, keep it up, you deserve nothing but the best. Go listen to Pink Siifu’s new album GUMBO’! below and don’t forget to support!
Ps, I was so tempted to just share this photo as a review for the album. Shoutout to everyone who gets the reference :