Freddie Gibbs is about to cross the ocean for his first UK performance. Since signing to Young Jeezy’s CTE label, Gibbs–who hails from Gary, IN–has been keeping the rhymes flowing hard and fast and has set himself on a mission to ensure that gangsta rap does not die out. Freddie Gibbs has never hidden his disdain for certain rappers. Lil B, Wale and Big Sean have all been on the receiving end of his candor. But during this interview, if there’s one thing came across rather lucidly from Gibbs – that he believes that hip hop and honesty should go hand in hand. Not just via his words but in his demeanour.
In this interview with Soultrain.com, Gibbs talks about why he feels so connected to gangsta rap, how it feels to be performing in London later on this month, and his admiration for the British accent (ladies watch out!)
Soultrain.com: Who did you grow up listening to?
Freddie Gibbs: A lot of 2Pac, Scarface, Geto Boys. A lot of Bone Thugs N Harmony, Twista, and MC Breeze. A lot of west coast music, NWA, just mainly gangsta rap. That’s what I grew up on.
Soultrain.com: What was it in particular about gangsta rap that drew you in?
FG: It talked about that was going on right in my neighborhood – Gary, Indiana. I could relate to it. Everything about it. There was crack dealers [in my neighbourhood]. There was crack heads next door. There was crack heads in my household. There was gang banging. There was shoot outs. Everything they were speaking about was the reality of what was going on around me. So I naturally gravitated towards that music. That music was kinda like my father. It raised me, y’know what I mean?
Soultrain.com: So is that what inspired you to start rapping yourself?
FG: No. Not at all. I didn’t start rapping until very, very recently–in my early 20s. I never rapped as a teen or as a child. I was playing sports or smoking weed…I wasn’t into rapping. Rapping came along. I’ve always been a fan of it, a student of it–but I never did it. It just came along for me as an outlet from my reality. When I got into it, I learned quickly that it took money to be able to sustain itself in the game for me to actually make it work. So, you gotta do what you gotta do to support the dream.
Soultrain.com: Who’s in your iPod right now?
FG: Freddie Gibbs.
Soultrain.com: All Freddie Gibbs?
FG: I definitely got all the old legends. Scarface. 2Pac. UGK. As far as new guys, I’d say it’s only me in my iPod right now. I have music I bump that not’s in my iPod. I bump Kendrick Lamar, Dom Kennedy, Young Jeezy. TM103 is in my iPod.
Soultrain.com: You will be over here in the UK shortly for you first ever performance. Has London been somewhere you’ve always wanted to perform?
FG: Man, I’ve wanted to come to London since I was a little boy. The accents. The girls’ accents. (laughs) I definitely like the accents. Every woman over here in America with that accent… It’s a turn on. All they gotta do is keep talking. It’s definitely gonna be a good experience for me. I’ve never been to London so I’m excited to go. I’m counting down the days on my calendar. Judging by what I see on the web, it seems like a couple people over there know who I am. So it’s gonna be interesting.
Soultrain.com: Spin Doctor is bringing you over, one of the best we have in the UK. What can we expect from the show?
FG: You’ll get a display of some of the best lyrical delivery that’s out there. I’m tellin’ a real story. I’m tellin’ a street story. Even if you’re not from where I’m from or if you never did what I did, you will still relate to it because I’m bringing the positive out of whatever you can. I do it in a unique way. That’s one thing I don’t let anybody do. I don’t let anybody out- perform me, rap wise. I treat every song like I’m about to knock somebody out. That’s the energy I put into it.
Soultrain.com: What else is coming up 2012 from Freddie Gibbs?
FG: I got a new project I’m about to drop. A Gangsta Grillz mixtape with DJ Drama. I’m working on that right now. I also have a project with Madlib. I got a project with Jeezy. That’s gonna be dope. That probably gonna drop at the end of the year. We’re workin’ on that. Once we’ve put the finishing touched on that it’s gonna be ill! Constantly working on my debut album. That’ll be coming pretty soon. But, look out for that project with DJ Drama. Gangsta Grillz.
Soultrain.com: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
FG: Do London girls like American guys?
Soultrain.com: They love American guys.
FG: Well I’m good then. I’m great. I am good.
Soultrain.com: And to the fans?
FG: I appreciate the opportunity to come over there. I’m the first from where I’m from to ever go to London period. To go overseas period.
If you are in the UK, you can catch Freddie Gibbs 10pm-3am Friday 13th April 2012 at East Village, 89 Great Eastern St, London EC2A 3HX.