Freddie Gibbs is clearly a De La Soul fan. The Gary, Indiana native is abiding by the same pledge the legendary Long Island trio made to their fans nearly 18 years ago: that their music “might blow up, but it won’t go Pop.” Gangsta Gibbs is similarly refusing to alter his lyrically adept Reality Rap to satisfy the cravings of today’s diabetic music listeners overindulging in the saccharine sweet sounds dripping out of their radios.
But that buck-the-system stance the “Midwest Malcolm” defiantly took on his stellar single from last year, “National Anthem (Fuck the World),” might soon be put to the test, as the onetime Interscope signee, who was subsequently passed on by ‘Scope subsidiary Shady Records, may be making a return to the major label ranks, and thus having his hardened tales of struggle and survival heard on the same airwaves as the sugary artists he denounces.
Even as Freddie’s balloon rapidly fills with air, Gibbs is remaining true to his raw roots, with plans to replicate his 2010 approach to serving the streets by dropping a standout mixtape followed by an even better formal retail release.
Speaking to HipHopDX last week, in advance of his performance as part of the DX and Decon Records showcase this weekend (March 19th) at this year’s South By Southwest festival, Gangsta Gibbs addressed the rumors of his return to the majors, before revealing new details of his forthcoming Cold Day in Hell / Baby Faced Killa one-two punch for 2011.
With no shortage of self-confidence, the surefire supplier of eye-popping statements about anyone or anything once again refuses to bite his tongue, providing a new collection of outspoken quotes: “I think I’m already making these niggas change the way they rap.” “Suburban America used to respect this shit, now they laugh at it.” “These niggas rappin’ ain’t shit but a muthafuckin’ Scarface movie stuck on wax.”
And maybe most notably: “Fuck them soccer mom hoes.”
HipHopDX: Since I’m a native of the ‘Nati, and since you’re the sports columnist for Rap Radar, I gotta ask an expert if you think the Bengals are making a mistake if they draft Cam Newton to replace Carson Palmer?
Freddie Gibbs: Obviously, Carson [Palmer] don’t wanna be there. If he don’t wanna be there, then he shouldn’t be. Fuck it, start fresh. And Cam Newton, it looks like he’s working. He’s trying to get his technique down and … he gettin’ it crackin’. I believe in what he doing. I don’t think that’s a bad pick.
DX: Okay, I’ll take your advice …. All I know is the Bengals are really gonna be screwed if Ochocinco actually goes through and marries that broad from Basketball Wives. [Laughs]
Freddie Gibbs: Y’all need to get rid of [Chad] Ochocinco. Get him out of there. He a problem for the team. He like another [Terrell Owens]. But T.O. did good for y’all this year. But I mean like, Ochocinco, he all on that Hollywood shit. I’d get him out of there, because he ain’t producing no wins and … just start fresh. Y’all just need a new squad, dog. That’s what it is. Keep the coach – your coach is good, Marvin Lewis is an excellent coach – just get rid of Ochocinco. If Carson wanna leave, get him the fuck out of there, bring in some new blood and get it crackin’.
DX: Switching gears here, you know I gotta ask about your tweet today, (March 10th): “Ahh rumors, rumors, rumors.” [Laughs] Feel free to speak on it with ya fam from DX. [Laughs]
Freddie Gibbs: [Laughs] Yeah, man, there’s a lot of rumors going around out there about who I signed to and all that. Man, I’m just … I ain’t confirming none of them rumors. I think it’s cool that people talking about stuff like that. It’s a lot of people that wanna sign me. It’s a lot of people that I been meeting with as of late. And, I just been holding back for the right situation and the thing that feel the best. But over the course of the past eight to 10 months I been meeting with a lot of people – a whole lot of people, a whole lot of well-known people and people that say they can take me in a certain direction. And I definitely don’t believe all of ‘em; I’ll believe 90% of ‘em. [Laughs] So, [what] it’s gonna all boil down to is one person, whoever that may be – or I might just keep doing what I’m doing, doing it the indie route and I don’t never gotta get into that whole world of … whatever you wanna call it: mainstream or whatever the fuck. So, it’s gonna be an interesting situation to see how it play out. But I’m definitely gonna make a change within the next couple weeks.
DX: I know you don’t wanna confirm or deny any type of signing or anything like that, but can you speak to what Karen Civil reported, that you and [Young] Jeezy did get it in in the studio recently?
Freddie Gibbs: Aw Karen [Civil], that’s my girl. Uh, you know, I just … [Young Jeezy and I] ain’t even get in the lab, man. I saw him, just passing through the A, doing my thing. I was out there on some other stuff. And, we just chopped it up, just kicked it. Went to a strip club, that’s all. We ain’t really do nothing. We ain’t go to the lab though, I just bumped into him when I was out there. And we just chopped it up in Magic City. We was makin’ it rain, slappin’ ass and shit like that.
DX: [Laughs] Was Jeezy up on that Str8 Killa?
Freddie Gibbs: Yeah, definitely, man. That’s my nigga, man. Real niggas is gonna do real shit. And real recognize real, so it’s like, that’s all that was: passing communication with another real nigga. That’s all that was: him telling me he appreciated my work. But we ain’t have no meetings, or we ain’t go to the lab or nothing like that.
DX: So, these rumors, and this [change] that may be happening in a couple of weeks, what does this do to the Baby Faced Killa project? Does this affect it at all?
Freddie Gibbs: Baby Faced Killa still droppin’, Joe. I’m about to drop the Cold Day in Hell [mixtape] that’s gonna set it up. That’s gonna be the prelude to that shit. And, I got some surprises in the bag, man. The shit’s gon’ be crazy. People ain’t really ready for what I’m about to do to the game right now. I’m ‘bout to put pressure on a lot of niggas, a whole lot of niggas. And they really ‘bout to feel it … a cold day in hell.
DX: It’s about to be a balmy day in spring, we been waiting on that. [Laughs]
Freddie Gibbs: [Laughs] Yeah, people is waiting. But it can be a cold day in hell any day, any day of the year. It don’t have to be the wintertime. But yeah, we definitely about to drop that mixtape and set the tone for what I’ma do during the summer: the type of records I’ma be droppin’, and the type of things I’ma be doing.
I’m about to go on this tour with Big K.R.I.T., so sometime before May [I’ll drop the mixtape]. But I gotta get it in on the road [first]. And I’ll be recording in between [performances]. … I definitely got records in the bag. I’m just – I’m a perfectionist. I like to put that final tweak on my shit, and make sure it ride all the way out. Matter fact, I think a lot of these muthafuckas drop too much shit. I think we be spoiling these fans a little bit, with this Internet, fast age, fast food music like, “Aw, gotta have it [right now] ….” And ain’t nothin’ really slow cooked no mo’. Muthafuckas just droppin’ mixtapes. And it’s like, songs ain’t really memorable. Muthafuckas just have a bunch of songs. Like back in the day when Ice Cube or somebody like that would drop a project, you would remember the records. You remember the albums. You got that feeling. You could ride out to it and know every song – you don’t even gotta know the title of the song. But now, everything so fast food … you got like 10,000 songs [online] and all the shit is doing is just cluttering up your God damn iTunes, with bullshit. So I like to slow cook my shit. I don’t wanna force-feed nothin’. That’s the difference between me and these other niggas, ‘cause they gon’ like these niggas, but they gon’ love me at the end of the day.
DX: Well let me be a pushy fan and suggest something on you. I personally think you need to change the name of the tape to what you told Goodfella Media back in December that you do on the daily: pray, smoke and rap. [Laughs]
Freddie Gibbs: [Laughs] Pray, smoke and rap. [Laughs] Yeah, that is true though; that is what a nigga do: pray, smoke and rap.
DX: Yeah, that’s gotta be the title for at least a song or something.
Freddie Gibbs: Yeah, I might do that. I’m definitely about to hit ‘em with something. I’m about to drop something before the summer start, and it’s definitely gon’ tear up the streets. Right now, like I said, I’m just doing these shows, and gettin’ this situation straight, seeing how we gon’ put out this Baby Faced Killa. ‘Cause that’s really gon’ do something to niggas. Anything I drop gon’ do something to niggas. I think I’m already making these niggas change the way they rap. I be seeing these niggas copying my flow, dog, already. And I’m ‘bout to start calling these niggas’ names out. But low key, these muthafuckas listen to me and they pay attention to what the fuck I’m doing and they copy that shit …. I’m about to start calling that shit out, ‘cause I’m sick of these niggas trying to flip they flow, take it double-time, trying to drop that whole Midwest shit, and they don’t even know what the fuck they doin’ wit’ that. So, I’m about to put a hurtin’ on these niggas, make some muthafuckas check they self before they wreck they muthafuckin’ self. ‘Cause, the game need to be checked right now, that’s why the Rap game so fucked up. Like, suburban America used to respect this shit, now they laugh at it. Now you got it so you got little-ass suburban white kids jumpin’ in the Rap game: “Aw, I can rap too!” That’s cool and all of that shit, but they not respecting the street element of which this shit comin’ from no more. They makin’ a mockery of this shit. … And that’s how we gettin’ looked at right now. And muthafuckas need to bring that respect back to the game I think.
DX: Let me ask about one white dude that I know respects the game: Statik Selektah. Is he gonna be helming that Cold Day in Hell tape?
Freddie Gibbs: Hell yeah. I love Statik Selektah. Statik Selektah like my brother. Whatever I do, Statik Selektah gonna be involved in it, hands down, no question.
DX: Have y’all done anything so far for the [Baby Faced Killa] album?
Freddie Gibbs: Oh yeah, definitely. He produced a song with me and Daz Dillinger that’s gon’ come out. ... It’s called “Rap Money.”
DX: Daz but no Kurupt?
Freddie Gibbs: Hey man, I’m looking for Kurupt. I’m out here in L.A., but I guess we both in our own little smoke cloud; I can’t find that nigga. But I got up with Daz; he live down the street from me so …
DX: So if the mixtape is gonna come by May, you got an idea of when the album is gonna drop?
Freddie Gibbs: Probably like later in the year …. I’m not rushin’ it. I’m still building fans; I’m still building a fan base, and gettin’ my face out there, so I’m doing all types of things to keep myself relevant in the meantime in between time. So, there’s definitely gonna be music out there. I just dropped the “Highway To Hell” joint with Bun B. Shouts out to Mexicans With Guns. They dropped a 7” of that. And a lot of people feeling that record. So I’m just gon’ do things like that, shoot videos – I’m about to come wit’ four new videos. I got a video for “Rock Bottom” that’s gon’ be comin’. So, like I said, I’m just putting material out there and just letting people know that I’m in the game and muthafuckas still gotta tuck they tail between they legs.
DX: You told Peter Parker back in December that Hi-Tek, Ski Beatz, Jim Jonsin, Develop and Josh The Goon laced you for your official first full-length. Can you reveal the full list of producers who contributed to the project so far?
Freddie Gibbs: I still gotta get in and do some shit with Hi-Tek. I don’t know if I forgot to mention [DJ] Burn One, but me and Burn One definitely get a lot of work in. He one of the most slept-on niggas in the game I think today. Um … let me see … I mean, I’m working with a lot of people, man. Alchemist, of course. Um, let me see … who else? Like I said, my nigga, I’m gettin’ it in. Whoever down to work wit’ a nigga, and we can make that marriage with the music, that’s all that matters to me. I don’t care about names or none of that shit. It can be one producer producing the whole muthafuckin’ project for me, or it could be twenty of ‘em. As long as we make a cohesive sound that sound good and you can ride out to. It ain’t about the names for me; it’s all about making the best piece of music. So whoever wanna get it in and think that they can provide that for a nigga, then let’s get it in.
DX: Yeah, after the [Str8 Killa] EP, I think you should do a whole joint with Block Beattaz. They gave you like the best shit [for “Live By The Game,” “Str8 Killa No Filla” and “Personal OG.”]
Freddie Gibbs: Oh yeah! Yeah, I fucks wit’ Block Beattaz too, definitely. I’m definitely gonna fuck wit’ them again. Beatnick & K-Salaam, they showed me love [with “Rock Bottom.”] Without the producers, it ain’t no me. So every producer that I worked with and we did some thangs wit’, I definitely got love for. And I always maintain my relationship wit’ them ….
DX: You been working with Alchemist forever, [so] is that an old joint that you just brushin’ the dust off of, or you guys did something new?
Freddie Gibbs: I just did a new joint with Alchemist like a couple weeks ago. Me and Al, we both smokers as well, so we be in our own cloud. [Laughs] But when we get together it’s always beautiful. Matter fact, I just did like a couple new songs with Al: I think for his shit, and Planet Asia. When I go through there, and we smoke and we kick it, I knock some shit out. That’s just how that work. But, I’m definitely gonna get up wit’ him before I go on this tour with K.R.I.T.
I’m workin’ on a lot of shit, man. I’m just a music lover. If you know me, you know that I just like to make shit, and make it hot, and do something special wit’ it. I don’t wanna be like the rest of these ol’ lame-ass niggas that just popped up and signed wit’ somebody in the past couple weeks or months or whatever …. A lot of this shit be corny. A lot of the shit is dope. Like, the Yelawolf thing, that’s dope. I think that’s gon’ be something dope. I fuck wit’ his shit. But a lot of shit, man … that shit corny as fuck. And they cornballs in real life. All this shit is just a facade. If you one hunnid in this game, it’s gon’ shine through. And people gonna know it. So, most of this shit out right now, these niggas rappin’ ain’t shit but a muthafuckin’ Scarface movie stuck on wax.
DX: [Laughs] Let me just ask you about one more producer …. I spoke to DJ Premier back in January, and he said that he definitely wants to work with you.
Freddie Gibbs: I just got off the email with [DJ] Premier like a couple of minutes ago, it’s funny you say that.
DX: How close is that to fruition?
Freddie Gibbs: Aw, that’s coming. That’s gon’ happen, definitely. Legendary. I mean, what can I say? I have to do that, or nothing’s gon’ make sense. I also just got up wit’ N.O. Joe, from down south, that did a whole lotta that Geto Boys stuff. I’m ‘bout to work wit’ him too. … Shouts out to my little nigga DJ Fresh in the Bay. I’m fuckin’ wit’ him. He got some heat too. Me and him, we did the [“M.O.B.” song] with Yukmouth …. Shouts out to Yukmouth. So, I’m just movin’ around, fuckin’ wit’ the real niggas in this game. Shouts out to Bun [B]. Bun showing me a lot in this game. Every move I make I call Bun, and I definitely ask his advice. It ain’t too many niggas in the game that I hold that utmost respect for like that. So … I’m definitely out here trying to move in the correct fashion.
DX: Damn, you do get it in all over the place. There ain’t too many people that worked with Preemo AND N.O. Joe.
Freddie Gibbs: Yeah, man. I’m hustlin’. I got a real wide range of music I listen to. And, I got a good ear. And I just wanna work wit’ muthafuckas I came up listening to. [N.O. Joe] produced classic records that I love. I wanna produce that same magic when I get in the booth. I want muthafuckas to feel good about this Rap shit again. Like, a nigga really feel like going to the store to go get your shit, not download it. I want that feeling back in the game. But, that ain’t there no more. It’s like when a new album come out, I go “Oh, that shit out. Aw, let me download it.” I be by the computer gettin’ it, ‘cause it ain’t been too many niggas that make me be like, “Damn. Let me go get this shit.”
DX: One joint that made me feel that sensation again was that “Xxplosive” inspired “Something New.”
Freddie Gibbs: Yeah, man, I was trying to wake up that nigga [Dr.] Dre like, Look man, this what you supposed to be doin’. Keep it 100, this what you supposed to be doin’, nigga. Wake up, nigga. Wake up, Doc. I need a doctor. Wake the nigga up. That’s all that was. [Laughs] Nah, real shit, it was just me paying homage though and showing what I could do on that shit. Million Dollar Mano, shout out to Mano, he freaked that shit. … Dre and them, they did their thing. All I was doin’ was throwing my two cents on it. And people liked it. So, I hope Dre continue to make classic shit like that.
DX: That was supposed to have been for the Closed Sessions project, wasn’t it? But it’s not part of the tracklist.
Freddie Gibbs: Oh, it ain’t on there? Oh, that’s crazy. I don’t know why. That’s one of the dopest shits. I don’t know, man. Hey, man, you know there’s politics [and] shit in this game. I don’t be fuckin’ wit’ these niggas, man. I’m a street nigga. I don’t be up in these muthafuckin’ board meetings, and [finding out] what’s going on wit’ what and all that bullshit. I be in the booth, and in my crib, chillin’ wit’ my dogs. I don’t be fuckin’ wit’ these Rap niggas, man, these corny-ass niggas.
DX: I gotta ask about the joint from you they did include on the Closed Sessions album, “Heads of the Heads” Do you feel like your street-oriented style sometimes goes over the heads of the heads?
Freddie Gibbs: Uh, yeah, sometimes. Some muthafuckas don’t understand that shit, because they being taught wrong by these lame-ass Rap niggas nowadays, puttin’ all these God damn tattoos and dumb shit all over they face. So yeah, if I’m speaking on an intelligent level, trying to tell you the right thing to do, it might go over your fuckin’ head if you tattooing ducks and shit on your face.
DX: That song was recorded at South By Southwest?
Freddie Gibbs: Yeah … a year ago.
DX: For this year’s South By Southwest, during the DX and Decon showcase, “Never Not Fresh,” are you gonna be rockin’ wit’ the live band like you did on Last Call With Carson Daly?
Freddie Gibbs: Yeah, I’m doing a live band. I think it’s for that show. I forgot, man. I smoke a lot, dog. [Laughs] But I’m definitely gon’ be rockin’ with The Park. That’s the same band I fucked wit’ on Carson Daly's [show]. So, we gon’ be doin’ our thing, man.
DX: I love how they freaked “Live by the Game.” That was crazy.
Freddie Gibbs: Man! The Park, they a beast. People better recognize, dog. The Park is a dope-ass band.
DX: How’d you link with them?
Freddie Gibbs: My boy Will [Abramson] from Yours Truly, he hooked me up with them. He put the whole thing together. Will a gangsta, man. Shouts out to my homeboy Will. He put a lot of shit together for me. I’m definitely grateful for him.
DX: You think that live music sound will help Freddie Gibbs music be more appealing to them soccer moms you been dissin’ in all your interviews of late? [Laughs]
Freddie Gibbs: Fuck them soccer mom hoes, those hoes that be bumpin’ that Britney Spears and that … whatever the fuck they bumpin’. What Rap nigga they like nowadays? What’s the nigga they like? Like [Ice] Cube said [on “True To The Game”], “They’ll have a new nigga next year.” You might be that nigga right now, but they’ll have a new nigga next year. Man, this game don’t love these niggas. That’s why you gotta keep it a hunnid all the way through your whole career. Muthafuckas ain’t got no morals no more in the game. Dudes just do whatever the fuck. But, it is what it is. I’m just trying to bring back this Gangsta Rap shit.
But that live element, all that really does for me is just show my versatility. Show that I can actually do that shit. ‘Cause a lot of Rap niggas can’t pull that shit off. … You gotta make certain adjustments when you rappin’ wit’ a live band. You can’t have these muthafuckas just play yo shit and go rap. You gotta rap accordingly to what’s going on with the live music, ‘cause it’s different than your regular track.
DX: One track I wanna hear from you [live] – well it’s actually Self Scientific’s track, that “Peaceful (Justice for Oscar).” I wanna hear that live. I wrote down this line you spit on there. It was just like … it hit me. “Them 26’s keep plenty bitches up in the ride / Way too busy countin’ that cake to think about genocide.”
Freddie Gibbs: Yeah, real talk. “Pocket full of stones, I’m killin’ my own.” Yeah, that’s right. It’s true, because when you gettin’ money you ain’t thinkin’ about the family you affecting by sellin’ this nigga some crack. You’re not thinkin’ about the family you affecting when you go shoot a nigga for taking something from you or something like that. You ain’t thinkin’ about that, all you thinkin’ about is yourself, at that point, and your hunger and your desires and what you need. But it’s definitely a bigger picture beyond that.
DX: I love a comment somebody put on the posting on 2dopeboyz: “God dammit Gibbs is the truth.”
Freddie Gibbs: Yeah, man, I hope they all think that. I’m just trying to be one hunnid and make the best music I can make, and never shortchange myself for nothing or nobody.