This is a brand new self-produced EP from Millville, New Jersey emcee/producer Gibby Stites. Getting his start in the music industry nearly a decade ago, he wouldn’t catch my attention until performing a set during Netfest On Your Couch during the 2020 COVID-19 lockdowns. Later that fall, he signed to Majik Ninja Entertainment & I had the honor of interviewing him shortly after the deal was made public. The 13th Wonder pretty much showcased Gibby to the juggalos as Jamie Madrox’s protégé & Welcome to iLLViLLE several months later took listeners through exactly where he comes from, but decided not to renew his MNE contract to form his own label iLLViLLE Worldwide shortly after. Now I’ll admit that it’s been over a couple years since I’ve covered Gilberto’s music track-by-track & that’s nothing personal at all because I know there are some juggalos out there that give him flack, but my morbid curiosity about Off Air got the best of me to make the time to break it down. Especially considering his return behind the boards for the first time in a grip.
The intro is a chilling, 75 second boom bap opener with Gibby talking about doing it for fuck’s sake that is until “The Man” works in some strings as well as kicks & snares admitting that he feels like that motherfucker now. “Heartbreak Kid” shifts into more summery boom bap territory opening up about being the one they start shit with just before “Blueprint” has a more weepier atmosphere instrumentally acknowledging that he knows for a fact that he’s the one.
“Made Men” keeps the kicks & snares in tact with a bluesier loop shaking the money tree to rake it all in leading into “Goosebumpin’” switching it up with a groovy trap beat talking about how people be sayin’ they gon’ do something to him & not actually go through with it at all. “Labels” brings back the symphonic undertones calling out the music industry for trying to stick him & “Ocean” closes out the EP with a powerful ballad promising not to let anyone down.
So this is Gibby’s 3rd EP albeit 9th project overall on iLLViLLE & I’m gonna have to be honest by saying Off Air is undebatably the best he’s sounded since leaving Majik Ninja to go his own way. The production is primarily grounded in the traditional east coast boom bap sound with a couple exceptions & he continues to take a step further into demonstrating how much he’s grown artistically within the last 5 years.