Freddie Gibbs has always marched to the beat of his own drum. He makes the music he wants to make, says whatever he wants to say with no filter and, for what it’s worth, smokes the weed he wants to smoke. During the past three years, Freddie has built his resume through he and his team’s own hustle with no handouts. It’s part of the reason you cheer for Gibbs’ music and marvel at the success he has already achieved.
That’s why when news initially broke of his signing to Young Jeezy’s Corporate Thugz Entertainment imprint, an overcast of clouded and mixed opinions was the immediate precipitation. Not because Gary, Indiana’s own made a decision to better his career, but because of the public scrutiny The Snowman has been experiencing for months over his inability to lock down a solid release date for TM 103 and the comprehensive quality of his music. Along with managers Archie Bonkers and Ben “Lambo” Lambert, Gibbs opens up in depth to The Crew about the signing: why he did it, his stance on the public’s perception of Jeezy’s current standing in Hip Hop, how long the deal has been in the works, Rick Ross and much, much more.
So much could be said about the situation, but it’s better to let the man himself tell it. Without further adieu, Freddie Gibbs, ladies and gentlemen.
On Why He Signed With CTE
Gibbs: For one thing, I f*ck with Jeezy music. Secondly, I believe in him and what he do. If I was going to do something of this magnitude, I had to do it the right way. It felt right going in that direction. I feel I can add to what he’s already got.
On The Timing Of The Signing
Gibbs: I mean, I’m still independent. I just partnered up with a guy I think can take me to the next level. I got a great respect for him and what he do and the respect is mutual. Musically, I think we can bring this gangsta rap shit back cause it’s lacking.
Bonkers: We’ve wanted to get Freddie & Jeezy linked up since ’05, no joke. Jeezy’s career is a career that we’ve always looked up to as a team. He’s been able to cross over and have commercial success while still staying street and never doing some corny ass single to satisfy radio. Whenever we had label meetings and they would ask us about how we see Freddie being successful, it was always Jeezy’s and DMX’s blueprint that we spoke about. And to be completely honest, Jeezy’s marketing plan for his Recession album is damn near identical to the marketing plan that I envisioned for Freddie’s Interscope debut that never happened.
Lambo: Being independent was never our intention. We’ve believed in practicing patience and never jumping into a situation that didn’t make sense for us. We’ve met with every type of industry person and to be quite honest the majority of them have no idea what they are talking about. I really don’t know why they work in music when they don’t know anything about it nor do they even seem to enjoy it. Back in ’08-’09 Fred and I would meet up with so called tastemakers and they’d tell us things like “street rap is over, you need to update your sound with Auto-Tuned hooks. If Scarface, 2Pac, or Ice Cube came out today they wouldn’t be popular. You’ll never make it.”
Bonkers: Another reason that we went with him is that Jeezy actually does what he says he’s going to do. He spoke to Fred and told him that he was going to do X, Y & Z and then he went and did it. After dealing with so much bullshit, half-truths and just straight up lies in this industry, it’s refreshing when somebody tells you that they’re going to do something and then goes and does it. It’s the same sh*t that we do.
Lambo: I read a recent Shock G interview where he said that when they were shopping 2Pacalypse Now, label heads would pass because they thought “conscious stuff was on the decline.” It’s crazy to watch the same industry folks make the same exact general statements and mistakes 20 years later and then wonder why their labels are folding. Everything in music happens in cycles. Rap is just in the cheesy “monster ballads” stage right now that rock experienced in the late 80’s before grunge or the mid 70’s before punk. Freddie is going to bring that grit back that it has been lacking. If something is great, it will shine through.
If He Landed On Jeezy’s Radar After “The Miseducation Of Freddie Gibbs”
Gibbs: I was on everybody radar, man. Mothaf*ckas was just not recognizing. Mothaf*ckas knew the new Midwest was putting it down. A lot of people couldn’t put the face with the name, but that falls on me though. That was a lack of promo on my part. Now, it’s like I’m making better strides. You can see the growth. Like I said, I ain’t been doing this rap thing that long, but you can definitely see the growth, not only musically, but business wise. I think I’m making better strides and better decisions. For me, it was easy to slide into this because I had respect for him. I been putting my shit down for a minute, so I think I was on a lot of people radar.
A lot of people was just scared to take a chance on me because of the connotation that comes with me. I probably got a bad reputation in the industry for beating up a couple A&R’s, being a loose cannon or, you know, uncontrollable type of nigga. But if you really know me and understand who I am, you’ll know that I’m the easiest mothaf*cka in the world to work with. I just require that you keep it 100 with me. Jeezy’s such a real mothaf*cka that he took that chance. Ninety percent of these niggas in the industry is p*ssy and I wouldn’t f*ck with them regardless, no matter what they offer me. Jeezy ain’t the first mothaf*cka that came to me and been like, ‘Yo, get down with me.’ He was the realest nigga that came to me, you know what I’m sayin’?
When The First Contact Happened
Lambo: For over a year or so now people had told us on different occasions that Jeezy was a fan of Fred. While we kept hearing this, we didn’t really have a way to reach out to him. Freddie’s never been the type of person to force anything. Everyone we deal with and everything we do is natural and comfortable so we didn’t go out of our way to contact Jeezy. We knew in our hearts that If he respected Fred and wanted to work with him, then we’d find out. One day a few months back I received a mysterious email from Slick Pulla that said “You makin that real music. Y’all lookin good over there. Let’s work.” I sent it over to Freddie and he responded right away.
Bonkers: We always heard rumors through the grapevine that Jeezy f*cked with us, but it was always a friend of a friend heard something, etc, never anything direct. Then one day Lambo got an email out the blue from Slick Pulla saying that they f*cked with Fred and it was on from there. I’ll let Lambo & Fred talk more about that since they were the ones communicating with them, but that’s the very short version. As Lambo put it, “it was like an email sent from the heavens”
Gibbs: Slick [Pulla] really deserves the credit because I was on his radar. He was putting the bug in everybody’s ear. Yeah, Slick and my boy Carbon . It just went from there. We got in contact and was just hollerin’ back and forth. They was just basically following my moves and saw what I was doing. They were like, “Let’s see what we can do to take this to the next level.” I recognized I was at one point and I had goals to get to a certain point. Jeezy saw that and it was just a slam dunk. I ain’t just some bum off the street that he just picked up because he was rapping. I think that I put in work and definitely developed a fan base, so I’m not just coming to the table with nothing. Like Jeezy holding my hand in the game. Nah, that ain’t it at all. When I went down there to the A to f*ck with Jeezy, he said, “I need a nigga I can hustle with.” He respects my grind and recognizes the fact he doesn’t have to hold my hand.
On The Public Questioning Why He Would Sign With Jeezy
Gibbs: I ain’t sign with him because he had the hot song on the radio or he’s hot right now. I ain’t no dickrider. I signed with him because I f*ck with his movement. I’ve seen a lot of niggas do that, you know what I mean? Then when that nigga burn out or what not, that’s when a mothaf*cka’s true colors show and they assed out. It is what it is man. I’m just another nigga trying to feed my family at the end of the day.
Bonkers: People that say that shit don’t know shit. I’m being dead honest, they don’t know anything. Jeezy has shit in the works. He’s a perfectionist. He just didn’t want to put the shit out, but now he’s almost ready. There’s new music coming out real soon and all those motherf*ckers gonna be shutting up in like two or three weeks type of shit. That’s what happens in the industry. You got a lot of people that don’t know what’s going on and they talk. Everybody always tries to count people out and it’s like the dumbest shit in the world. All you have to do is come with some music. This shit is about to go down. Everybody that’s doubting Jeezy, let ‘em doubt. It don’t matter.
[The move] makes sense all around. We’ve got some other shit in the works, outside of the Jeezy move. It’s not even gonna be fair when people see what the f*ck we’re about to do. People are going to think we cheated. We ain’t trippin’ off that talk shit.
On If Mutual Ill Feelings Towards Rick Ross Influenced His Signing
Gibbs: Jeezy dissed Rick Ross? I didn’t know that. I ain’t diss Rick Ross. When I diss Rick Ross? (Ed. Note: On the song “Crushin’ Feelings,” Gibbs has a line saying, “I threw my tape out on the streets and watch my tape liftoff/ Without a verse from Weezy, Kanye or the fake Rick Ross”). Nah, that ain’t no diss. That’s just a person pointing out the truth. It’s a real Rick Ross and it’s a rap Rick Ross. I ain’t say that person is a hoe ass nigga or bitch ass nigga or no shit like that. I ain’t diss that nigga dog. Real shit. I don’t know that man personally to diss him. I was talking about some rap shit. When he said that C.O. thing, from a fan’s standpoint – because I’m a fan of rap – that was weird for me. All I was saying was I did my thing without getting features from the “poppin’” niggas at that time. I wasn’t dissing him because if I diss a nigga I can go in, all the way in. As far as some shit between him and Jeezy, I don’t know nothing about that.
If This Will Grant Him More Southern Exposure
Gibbs: It ain’t even really about that. I think that I’m gonna get exposure everywhere now cause Jeezy definitely does his thing worldwide. Just the fact that me and him are collaborating is special within itself. I finally might get more radio play now since he gets a lot of radio play. People that didn’t f*ck with me before probably gonna f*ck with me now. More fake mothaf*ckas gonna come around too. It’s definitely gonna raise my stock, you know what I mean? I recognize the work and what Jeezy put down and what he’s on is something I want to be a part of.
Lambo: Freddie grew up on southern rap. We drive around listening to Geto Boys, UGK, Willie D solo albums, Face, Eightball and MJG, Outkast, Tela, Cash Money, 3-2, Big Mello, Z-Ro, No Limit, Dirty, Three 6 Mafia, South Circle, all the classic stuff. Freddie can literally recite all the lyrics to just about every No Limit album. I’m talking like the most obscure album cuts. It’s really amazing. This tour that he’s been on with Big KRIT has also shown him that the South really supports him. They’ve been selling out shows left and right and Freddie has been getting a great response from Southern audiences. We already work with a lot of great artists and producers from the South like Block Beattaz, Bun B, Burn One etc. It’s a natural combination. The midwest and the South always supported each other in the golden days. You’d see Twista working with UGK, or Do or Die and Snypaz on Rap-A-Lot. Since Jeezy’s audience love real music and content they are going to love them some Freddie Gibbs.
On Whether Previously Reported Projects Will Still Be Released (Cold Day In Hell)
Gibbs: Everything that I’m doing now is still happening. Nothing’s going to stop. Jeezy’s not trying to slow me down or stop me and try to develop me. He just wants to add to what I’m doing.
On Everybody Who Fronted On Him In The Past
Gibbs: I ain’t the nigga to say I told you so…but I told you mothaf*ckas. I still have a long way to go, so I’m not about to start sticking my tongue out at mothaf*ckas. I ain’t gonna put my dick on no A&R’s faces just yet. Once I sell some records then I’ll go do all of that, but for now I’m just taking a necessary step into furthering my career. F*ck all them niggas that fronted. I ain’t worried about them.