Interview: Freddie Gibbs
With OutsideIn Festival is now less than two weeks away, anticipation is building. The second line-up announcement midway through August was mind blowingly awesome; with the likes of Snakehips (UK), and local talent like Willow Beats and Wave Racer added to the bill. In the last week we’ve not only seen the first day sell out, but also Aussie legends Hermitude added in place of Knxwledge.
One of the biggest coups’s that festival organisers Astral People have been able to pull off is the presence of gangster rapper Freddie Gibbs (US) on the original bill. Gibbs has really taken off as an artist since breaking away from Young Jeezy’s CTE label. We caught up with Freddie this week.
You’re coming down under to play at OutsideIn festival, as well as a couple of other shows in Australia and New Zealand. How did you first hear about OutsideIn festival, and how did you end up on the bill?
I didn’t know anything about it. My managers just told me about it, they just let me know I’d be heading over to Australia, so I guess it was a blessing.
Have you been to Australia before? What are you most excited about coming down under to tour?
I’ve never been to Australia. I’ve heard women are extravagant. I hear they all know how to surf and shit. But I don’t fuck with water, I can’t swim. I definitely am excited about coming to Australia though.
What else have you got planned for while you’re down here?
I’m going over to New Zealand as well. I’m just going to be moving around, seeing the sites. I don’t know exactly what they’ve got planned for me but I’m definitely excited to be there.
You’ve obviously recorded a fair amount of tracks and mixtapes over the last few years, and you’ve just released your first studio album ESGN (evil seeds grow naturally) a couple of months ago. What sets this album apart from other stuff you’ve recorded?
I can’t really call it my first studio album. Shit I’ve just made a lot of records if you know what I mean. You call it my first studio album but it’s just the same thing to me. It’s different to other people because I’m not connected with any other people. I’m not connected with a record label or affiliated with anybody. I’m not down with Jeezy, I’m not on a major or anything of that nature. Every project with me is just me showing my growth as an artist to be honest.
What are your favourite tracks on the album and why?
Probably Freddie Soprano, and Have You Seen Her with me and my boy Hit Skrewface. In Freddie Soprano I get to really flex my lyrical skill a little bit, just non-stop rapping with no real hook involved. Have You Seen Her is pretty much the opposite of that, a hook based record. Not like a jingle but something that people can sing along with, from a gangster standpoint.
How do you think your style has evolved since you first started out?
I think that I’ve been able to try more risky things as an artist and as a rapper. I already know that lyrically I can tear apart anybody on the track, you know what I mean? So that’s really no challenge for me. I’m starting to get more into the melodic side of making the music, more singing and combining other music elements of that nature, like on The Colour Purple on the ESGN album. So I’m showing my growth as an artist, showing that I can do different things and be more versatile.
In the last few years you’ve collaborated and performed with people like Madlib, Spaceghostpurp, and Jay Rock, as well as people like G-Wiz and Hit Screwface on the new album. Who have you most enjoyed collaborating with?
I’ve worked with a lot of people so that’s kind of hard to answer. For the most part I like working with people that respect my music and mutual friends. It doesn’t really need to be anything complicated. I’m just glad to get the opportunity to be able to feed my family with this, you know?
What else can we expect from you in the near future?
ESGN is out now, and be on the look-out for a new Freddie Gibbs mixtape before the end of the year too.
What would happen if a white guy like myself rocked up in your neighbourhood?
Well.. we’d either rob him or sell him some crack…
- Zanda Wilson