Freddie Gibbs

Blake Gillespie

Freddie Gibbs

We talked with the California-by-way-of midwest rapper about weed strains, industry pains, his upcoming St8 Killa No Filla mixtape, why he doesn’t like any lady rappers, and that smell that never leaves Gary, Indiana.

So, what are you drinking?

Hen-dog, all the way. Anytime you see me drinking, it’s definitely that cognac, baby.

I thought maybe you and your crew had polished off a bottle of Jameson; the bartender had to grab a new bottle for my Irish coffee.

Ah, the Jameson. My homeboy Josh The Goon be drinking that Jameson. Shout out to my homeboy Josh The Goon.

How’s SXSW treating you?

Man, it’s a dream. I wasn’t expecting it. This is my first time in Austin, TX period. So, it’s love. I wasn’t expecting the reception I am getting. Last year I didn’t have one showcase down here. Nobody knew who the fuck I was. Now, it’s like… I did eight shows. I got two more to go. I’m blessed with the opportunity to be working.

The word so far is that people are raving about your showcases. Which one did you think went the best?

The one I think went the best was the Biz 3 showcase. Shout out to Kathryn (Frazier).

Ha. I’ll even send a shout out to her.

She set that up for me to knock that shit down. I delivered. That’s what it’s all about in this game for me. Just delivering and doing what you’re supposed to do. A lot of rapper to me, they don’t do what they supposed to do. I’m trying to bring that back.

What are some of the areas where rappers are falling short?

I mean, shit. The live shows are garbage in rap right now. Too many niggas on stage with mics. I don’t want to hear that shit. I can’t understand it. The showmanship gone. The lyrics gone. A lot of niggas rapping about shit I don’t even relate to anymore. I can’t hear it. I’m from the motherfucking hood.

I ain’t saying all rap gotta be gangster. I listen to Tribe Called Quest. I listen to Pharcyde. All of that shit. Souls of Mischief. All rap ain’t gotta be gangster, but it gotta be true to you. I don’t think niggas been true to the shit they been spitting. Ain’t nothing sugar coated about me.

People gravitate to it because it’s real human being shit.

You feasted on any BBQ down here?

Man, I hear that Ironworks got the best BBQ in Austin. I’ll head over there either today or tomorrow. The South got… food just taste different in the South. I love it down here.

I ate a piece of fried chicken wrapped in a waffle. They called it a chicken-n-waffle taco.

Hey, though. (Turns to entourage, lounging next to us.) He said he had a piece of chicken wrapped in a waffle.

Where the fuck do you get that at?

Hot sauce. Syrup. Maple Syrup.

(Gibbs relates each detail to his crew.)

That shit sounds fire as hell. You got to tell me where you get that at.

Oh 6th Street across 35. There’s that broken down red bus and next to it is a stand with the chicken waffles. They got’em for $5.

Oh, hell yeah. He talking about that little stand outside. That’s what’s up. On the real.

I’ve had it twice, it’s so good.

Was it called Mama’s? I was over there yesterday. I went over that way to get my haircut. I try to go to the hood in every city. I try to go see what it is. Connect with the people. I pay homage and respect.

Do people recognize you down here?

They have been. That’s the crazy part. Especially within the whole SXSW atmosphere. It’s been cool with all of that. Seeing that the work I’ve put in in the past six months is paying off.

Did you get a chance to fill out an NCAA bracket?

Naw, dog I’ve been so wrapped up in the lab, I ain’t had the chance to check it. I check the flashes up on ESPN. College basketball cool, but I’m more into college football. I love Duke though. I ain’t really been checking. I know John Wall a beast. I like John Wall. He killing it. Cousins. Kentucky raw. I like Syracuse’s team. Too bad Georgetown got knocked out by Ohio. What the fuck.

That’s my alma mater!

Ohio? Oh yeah? I went to Ball state. That’s in the MAC too.

OK. No shit.

I played football for Ball State for a year, until they kicked my ass out for not going to class and shit.

Now that you’ve had a big year have the major labels been calling again?

A couple.

How do you feel about that?

That shit, man. It’d have to be a good situation. They’d have to be ready to partner up with me and move things in the direction I want to move. If a company can’t see my vision and go where I want to go with it, then I ain’t fucking with it. I’m not compromising my integrity for no money no more. I did what I had to with my Interscope situation. I recorded. The product I recorded, they didn’t like it. So, it’s like “well then, fuck you nigga.”

Thankfully, Interscope don’t run the motherfucking streets. The streets like my shit. So, you can’t deny that music just because a label say they ain’t fucking with it. You still gotta keep pushing. I must admit at first I let that discourage me. I let that make me sour on the game, like I don’t even wanna rap. After Interscope dropped me I didn’t wanna rap because there was too much plastic in the game.

From the rappers, to the A&Rs, to the managers, all these motherfuckers. Eight of ten of the motherfuckers in the industry is plastic or they straight dick in the booty faggots.

I try to just hold on to what’s most important to me – my family and my close people. I don’t worry about none of the bullshit in the industry. I treat shit like a job and don’t take none of it home to bed with me at the end of the night.

What are you preparing to release next?

I’m about to drop a new mixtape. Man, my shit, it’s a mixtape, but it really feels like an album to be quite honest with you. I approach every product the same, whether it’s a mixtape or an album. I got St8 Killa No Filla that’s about to come out real soon. It shits on most of these niggas’ albums. I got some shit with Alchemist (titled The Devil’s Palace) I’m about to do. People hating on that. They don’t want to see that go down.

Why wouldn’t anybody want to see that? These past few years may not have been his best, but it’s Alchemist?

These record labels don’t understand that shit, dog. They hear that idea that I’m about to do that and they be like, “well…” They just trying to fuck me into doing a pop single. I got shit that could be played on the radio, don’t get me wrong. I wanna be played on the radio, but I’m not about to bend over to suck no dick to be on the motherfucking radio and I ain’t making no shit that don’t fit me. I’m going to make what I wanna make. I’m gonna make what’s true to me. If they fuck with it, they fuck with it. If they don’t… Ok. I’ll be alright.

It has to feel liberating to call all your shots.

Freedom. I can make what the fuck I want to make. I ain’t got no corny ass A&R sitting over my shoulder. I ain’t with none of that shit. It’s the best situation to be in. If a label comes around and lets me do what the fuck I do because I’ve garnered all this attention on my own with not a dollar from no label. All this shit is off my hustle. If they can respect that and understand where I’m going with shit, we can do something. In the meantime, between time I’m doing me. Straight gangster shit.

Anytime I’ve driven through Gary trying to get to Chicago, I have to roll up my windows…

The smell.

Do you ever get used to that smell?

I’m used to it. I grew up with it. The landfills, old ass factories, the fucking dead bodies, all that shit. It’s Gary, dog. Learn to love it, learn to live with it. It’s fucked up. It’s depressed. The economic situation in Gary is bad. At the same time, you got to roll with the punches. I had to leave the city for a little bit to try to get my name out there more. There wasn’t nothing there for me. Chicago radio DJs weren’t fucking with me. I had to do what I had to do.

There’s DJs from Indiana that worked at the Chicago stations that wouldn’t fuck with me. In the Midwest we won’t put ourselves on. I got down South and they playing down South music. You go to Chicago and them niggas play shit, but we ain’t in the regular rotation. We ain’t in the mix like that. It’s all that payola bullshit. These fagot ass DJs is lining their pockets on that punk shit.

We dick-ride fucking the area. It’s like the Midwest is a consumer area. We scared to establish ourselves. Why we can’t be as solid in the rap game as the East coast and the west coast and the south. We got the caliber of artists to be more solidified in the game with our region. I don’t think we link up enough in our region. It all starts with the DJs and shit. But, if they ain’t fucking with it, we gotta make this movement and do our own thing.

Do you have a favorite strain of weed?

OG Kush got the best taste. That organic shit. The Cali shit. I like purple. Dro. I smoked this shit with my niggas called Blood Diamond, that shit was bomb. There’s so many different weeds, man. I wish I could smoke a blunt right now.

Been to any SXSW shows?

I saw the homie, J.Rocc. That was cool, that’s my dude. That’s the only shit I had time for.

I wish I had hit up the Duck Down show last night. I went to a Women in Hip Hop Showcase.

(Snickers.) Women in hip hop. Boy, that’s crazy.

(Long pause.)

I don’t like female rappers, man. No disrespect to the ladies.

You cool with going on record with that?

I don’t give a fuck. Fuck it; I’ll put it out there. Ain’t nobody gonna come whoop my ass. Me personally, I don’t listen to it. I ain’t gon lie. I’m not saying females can’t rap. Not at all. I’m definitely not no sexist, so all you bra burning bitches sit the fuck down. I got a mother and sister that I love and treat with the utmost respect. They my queens. Maybe the female rapping ain’t been on point?

Some of you bitches step your game up. Shit the niggas ain’t been rapping good either.

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