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Meaning of ‘1985’ by ‘Freddie Gibbs’ feat. The Alchemist

Released: 2020

Features: The Alchemist

“1985” is a tour-de-force from Freddie Gibbs, flexing his prowess in rhythm, flow, and lyrical nuance over The Alchemist’s gritty backdrop. This song pins down the dynamic life Gibbs has led, painting pictures of his origin and his unyielding dedication to his hustle. It’s steeped in raw street realism, bold assertions, and shadowy anecdotes from the drug trade.

Initially, the song captures some idle talk amongst friends before it dives deep into Gibbs’ story. When Freddie says “Quarter thang to a whole thang, whole gang workin”. He’s talking about how his crew started small, dealing quarter ounces, and now, they’ve expanded to dealing whole kilograms. This line, alongside his reference to MJ’s ’85 season – “Michael Jordan, 1985, bitch, I travel with a cocaine circus”, provides a dual-edged sword, celebrating his ambition and success, but also reflecting the dangerous game he’s playing.

Freddie paints a vivid picture of his past drug dealings, with lines like “Geekers beamin’ up to Scotty in my crack lobby”. “Geekers” is slang for drug users, and “beamin’ up to Scotty” is a reference to Star Trek, hinting at the high they’re chasing. And when he drops, “I’m the reason your mama be smokin’ that Brillo And be rippin’ them contenders off”, it’s a stark and unapologetic admission of his impact on his community through his illicit activities.

When he rhymes “Joe Pesci, push your product, you niggas is sweeter than Joe Exotic”, he compares himself to Joe Pesci’s mob-aligned characters, implying his toughness, while throwing shade at others who appear less genuine and soft – akin to Joe Exotic from Netflix’s Tiger King. His line, “Police caught him with a whole thang, now they snitchin’ man, whole gang workin'”, underlines the dangers and betrayals in his world.

In the hook, Freddie speaks on his influence in the rap game with “I make a song weep, I got the game hurt”. The phrase ‘make a song weep’ suggests Freddie’s well-crafted bars and powerful delivery can bring emotional depth to a track, even cause it to ‘weep’. By stating he has the “game hurt”, he’s implying his music is so potent it leaves a significant impact on the hip-hop industry.

“1985” is a gritty, uncompromising reflection of Freddie Gibbs’ arduous journey through the streets to the standpoints of hip-hop, providing listeners an unfiltered lens into the depths of his experiences, dogged hustle, and his prowess as a wordsmith.

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