Freddie Gibbs Is the Gangsta Mainstream Needs

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Thug and mainstream rap have not gone together over the past several years.

Over the past decade, Young Jeezy and South Florida's Trick Daddy have been able to create thug/gangsta rap with mainstream success, even incorporating the word thug in the albums' titles, such as Thug Motivation 103: Hustler's Ambition and Finally Famous: Born a Thug, Still a Thug.

Freddie Gibbs' brand of thug rap is one with a nearly flawless flow to display the harsh reality of growing up and living in Gary, Indiana, one of the most dangerous cities in America.

"When you grow up and you're grown," said Gibbs, "and you got bills and got people to take care of, shit get real. And people are going to die."

Strongly influenced by the Black Panthers, he cites Huey P. Newton's Revolutionary Suicide as his favorite book. The message can be heard in songs such as "National Anthem."

But the sound and remnants of a stronger influence have some fans believing him to be the second coming of Tupac, a title Gibbs is cautious of.

"You got to be careful of that label," said Gibbs. "I don't want to be labeled as one of these Tupac clones."

His taste in music, on the other hand, may be different from what you would expect it to be. Gibbs admits to being a fan of singers Adele, the Weekend, and pop's golden boy, Justin Bieber.

"I love Justin Bieber," said Gibbs. "Hopefully, I'll get to work with him in the future. That'll be real dope."

Gibbs, who signed with Young Jeezy's Corporate Thug Entertainment label last year, is not signed to CTE's parent label, Def Jam, which leaves him open for other major labels to pick him up. But don't expect Gibbs to pander to labels for a deal. Far from it.

"I'm not shopping shit. I'm not demoing shit. I'm not auditioning for no motherfucker," said Gibbs. "You want to do business with Gangsta Gibbs, then you niggas come correct just like Jeezy came correct."

And why shouldn't they?

His last mixtape, Cold Day in Hell, was downloaded more than 29,500 times on DatPiff.com alone and was reviewed as one of the best mixtapes of 2011.

"Whoever wants to put the shit out, they're just going to have to give me a million dollars," said Gibbs. "Make it 2 million dollars. You'll never see a bad guy like this again."


Gibbs' next project will be #BabyFaceKilla, the latest installment in the Gangsta Grillz series by DJ Drama. He said the mixtape will be released around Memorial Day and will have about 15 tracks featuring fellow Young Jeezy, Scarface, A.$.A.P. Rocky, Bun B, Kendrick Lamar, tour mate Raekwon, and more.

Fans can catch Freddie Gibbs performing with Raekwon tonight at Revolution Live in Fort Lauderdale at 200 W. Broward Blvd. starting at 7 p.m. Visit jointherevolution.net

Follow Lee Castro on Twitter at @LeeMCastro.


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