Freddie Gibbs
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Freddie Gibbs

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"Freddie Gibbs may put Gary hip-hop onto the national rap scene"


Freddie Gibbs represents Gary's East Side, but these days he represents remotely, from southern California.

"Gary's just a depressing place sometimes," Gibbs said.

Successful hip-hop musicians have embraced the capitalist rite of using new money to leave the old neighborhood, as was confirmed when 50 Cent's mansion on Long Island, N.Y., burned down in late May. But Gibbs and other notables from Gary's artist-rich rap scene -- including C.O.B. of The Grind Family -- have inverted the get-famous-and-get-out tradition.

Their trajectories resemble the path of the small-town dancer who leaves for New York City because there is no ballet in Demotte. They do not seek to build the Gary-Chicago hip-hop scene. They have slipped into other scenes.

C.O.B. says it best.

"Ain't no agents where we come from. Ain't no entertainment lawyers," C.O.B. said.

"There's a lot of people making music. Ain't nobody behind the scenes."

The next big thing

Freddie Gibbs sees himself as Gary's great rap hope.

Rasping his threats in a jogging, syncopated flow -- not unlike the profitable, slyly poetic T.I. -- Gibbs inked a record deal with rap powerhouse Interscope. Gibbs also has what he says is a lucrative side job with Sony in uncredited ghostwriting, hip-hop's shadowy equivalent to ninjitsu.

Record-label turmoil has kept his first album in the can, he said, but the disc will come out, he said. Gibbs has signed to act in movies, he said, and kicked out a string of free mixtapes. He is working with gangster rap founding father Dr. Dre, he said.

Gibbs sees himself moving the Jay-Z kind of album numbers.

"I'm trying to be one of the greatest," Gibbs said.

"I think I've got a style and a flow that nobody ever heard."

Gibbs addresses the gangster rap touchstones: marijuana, belligerent heterosexuality and uninhibited gun violence. Hip-hop fans and critics can question the social consequences of violent black music, but they can't argue that Gary doesn't provide proper scenery. Gibbs' mother lives at 17th Avenue and Virginia Street, a corner recently made infamous as the scene of a carjacking that ended with the murder of a 13-month-old boy.

And Gary's poverty affects its rap music economy, Gibbs said. Gary has no strong record labels, no rap radio and few concert venues. Chicago radio DJs won't play Gary MCs, Gibbs said. As close as they are geographically, Chicago and Gary remain distant in business, Gibbs said.

So Gibbs went to Los Angeles, while never forgetting Gary, his informing "essence."

"The politics of the game"

C.O.B. was the heart of The Grind Family, and The Grind Family was Gary's marquee hip-hip group.

A major label-record deal for The Grind Family fizzled, C.O.B. said, and the rapper-producer-manager started to think he was wasting his time and money dropping albums in Gary. He put The Grind Family on pause. He left Gary.

"You gotta get out and get on the road to get any business done," he said.

Now C.O.B. is trying to sell a Hammond MC, Dj The Doe Boy, across the south. Crucially, Dj The Doe Boy is young. In hip-hop years, 30 is old, and 40 is Andy Griffith. Hip-hop music's originator, DJ Kool Herc, is 53. C.O.B., 30, knows Dj The Doe Boy's youth is a strength.

"He's in that age range. That's what's poppin' right now," he said.

But the setting is just as important as the demographic. C.O.B.'s career arc testifies to hip-hop's geographic evolution. New York and Los Angeles ruled the game through the mid-1990s, when rappers and producers across the south tacked their cities onto hip-hop's map.

Atlanta and Miami host thriving live hip-hop scenes, and radio stations crave new local artists, C.O.B. said. So he and his protege made themselves local artists.

"If you really want to make it, you've got to get out there and network."

Economics rules

Rappers who remain in Gary know they might have to leave to find success.

Former Thugged Out member Mutt Dogg went solo after his brother and bandmate, Michael "Mafioso" Goldsby, was shot dead in May 2007.

Mutt Dogg is still in Gary, but he says he will leave if he must. Mutt Dogg -- a profane, adrenalized interview subject with a gift for abstract stream-of-consciousness self-promotion -- thinks his music could sell anywhere.

"Real recognize real," he said.

C.O.B. sums up the situation. Gary's plentiful hip-hop musicians can't expose their music without support.

"You have to leave, unless you're blessed to have a quarter million or a half million dollars in your possession," he said.



- The Hype Magazine


"Freddie Gibbs represents Gary's East Side, but these days he represents remotely, from southern California."


"Gary's just a depressing place sometimes," Gibbs said.

Successful hip-hop musicians have embraced the capitalist rite of using new money to leave the old neighborhood, as was confirmed when 50 Cent's mansion on Long Island, N.Y., burned down in late May. But Gibbs and other notables from Gary's artist-rich rap scene -- including C.O.B. of The Grind Family -- have inverted the get-famous-and-get-out tradition.

Their trajectories resemble the path of the small-town dancer who leaves for New York City because there is no ballet in Demotte. They do not seek to build the Gary-Chicago hip-hop scene. They have slipped into other scenes.

C.O.B. says it best.

"Ain't no agents where we come from. Ain't no entertainment lawyers," C.O.B. said.

"There's a lot of people making music. Ain't nobody behind the scenes."

The next big thing

Freddie Gibbs sees himself as Gary's great rap hope.

Rasping his threats in a jogging, syncopated flow -- not unlike the profitable, slyly poetic T.I. -- Gibbs inked a record deal with rap powerhouse Interscope. Gibbs also has what he says is a lucrative side job with Sony in uncredited ghostwriting, hip-hop's shadowy equivalent to ninjitsu.

Record-label turmoil has kept his first album in the can, he said, but the disc will come out, he said. Gibbs has signed to act in movies, he said, and kicked out a string of free mixtapes. He is working with gangster rap founding father Dr. Dre, he said.

Gibbs sees himself moving the Jay-Z kind of album numbers.

"I'm trying to be one of the greatest," Gibbs said.

"I think I've got a style and a flow that nobody ever heard."

Gibbs addresses the gangster rap touchstones: marijuana, belligerent heterosexuality and uninhibited gun violence. Hip-hop fans and critics can question the social consequences of violent black music, but they can't argue that Gary doesn't provide proper scenery. Gibbs' mother lives at 17th Avenue and Virginia Street, a corner recently made infamous as the scene of a carjacking that ended with the murder of a 13-month-old boy.

And Gary's poverty affects its rap music economy, Gibbs said. Gary has no strong record labels, no rap radio and few concert venues. Chicago radio DJs won't play Gary MCs, Gibbs said. As close as they are geographically, Chicago and Gary remain distant in business, Gibbs said.

So Gibbs went to Los Angeles, while never forgetting Gary, his informing "essence."

"The politics of the game"

C.O.B. was the heart of The Grind Family, and The Grind Family was Gary's marquee hip-hip group.

A major label-record deal for The Grind Family fizzled, C.O.B. said, and the rapper-producer-manager started to think he was wasting his time and money dropping albums in Gary. He put The Grind Family on pause. He left Gary.

"You gotta get out and get on the road to get any business done," he said.

Now C.O.B. is trying to sell a Hammond MC, Dj The Doe Boy, across the south. Crucially, Dj The Doe Boy is young. In hip-hop years, 30 is old, and 40 is Andy Griffith. Hip-hop music's originator, DJ Kool Herc, is 53. C.O.B., 30, knows Dj The Doe Boy's youth is a strength.

"He's in that age range. That's what's poppin' right now," he said.

But the setting is just as important as the demographic. C.O.B.'s career arc testifies to hip-hop's geographic evolution. New York and Los Angeles ruled the game through the mid-1990s, when rappers and producers across the south tacked their cities onto hip-hop's map.

Atlanta and Miami host thriving live hip-hop scenes, and radio stations crave new local artists, C.O.B. said. So he and his protege made themselves local artists.

"If you really want to make it, you've got to get out there and network."

Economics rules

Rappers who remain in Gary know they might have to leave to find success.

Former Thugged Out member Mutt Dogg went solo after his brother and bandmate, Michael "Mafioso" Goldsby, was shot dead in May 2007.

Mutt Dogg is still in Gary, but he says he will leave if he must. Mutt Dogg -- a profane, adrenalized interview subject with a gift for abstract stream-of-consciousness self-promotion -- thinks his music could sell anywhere.

"Real recognize real," he said.

C.O.B. sums up the situation. Gary's plentiful hip-hop musicians can't expose their music without support.

"You have to leave, unless you're blessed to have a quarter million or a half million dollars in your possession," he said.
- NWI Times


"URB 100 - Next 100 Movers"

In a market where ring-tone rappers outsell those who represent struggles, victories, and tragedies of street life, it only seems right to accept the dark truths that rappers like Freddie Gibbs bring to light. Like 2Pac and Biggie before them, Gibbs spits a potent mix thug-life realities, drug fueled escapades, and street braggadocio. Balancing harder New York street styles with Houston-esque trunk rattlers, Gibbs bring it from the heart. - ET


Discography

Big Bizness Vol's 1-3
Live From G.I. Pt's 1&2
The Miseducation of Freddie Gibbs

Photos

Bio

Hailing from Gary, Indiana, a place whose murder and crime rates have ranked it several times at the top of the "Most Dangerous Cities" list, Freddie Gibbs is the true definition of a street survivor. Raised on Gary's east side, Gibbs lived the hard life firsthand in a run-down industrial community plagued with vice and ignored by the establishment. After playing at Ball State on a football scholarship, Gibbs was kicked out of college. Over the next few years he went through court-ordered boot camp, joined and got discharged from the military, and held down a series of 9 to 5 jobs without success. Feeling like the system had failed him, Gibbs turned to hustling; pimping and selling crack out of a local house. Inspired by rappers like UGK, The Geto Boys and 2Pac, Gibbs started rhyming about his life and the issues facing urban youth in Gary and the countless other impoverished cities just like it. Gangsta Gibbs is the first rapper signed to a major label from Gary. The Steel City's most famous musical residents to date are the Jackson Five, whose name still adorns a marquee on a falling-apart theater in Gary's blighted downtown. His desire to rep the Midwest and his city led Gibbs to start recording mixtapes and pushing them online as well as the streets, where he quickly began garnering fans drawn to his original style, diverse flows, and deeply personal lyrics about his experience as a young black man growing up below the poverty line in a forgotten American city. Freddie has worked with respected producers like Red Spyda, Just Blaze, Buckwild, Alchemist, Polow Da Don, and Collipark among many others. Gibbs cites Houston rap and Pac as his major influences, and it shows in his ability to alternate between chillingly tense street stories of violence and laid back comedic tales about women and weed. Ultimately Gibbs shows and proves with his rhymes, which demonstrate the promise of a legend in the making. His skills, wit, and street credibility establish Freddie Gibbs as a true artist. He's ready to represent for Gary, the Midwest, and anyone who relates to the struggle of inner city life. As Gibbs tells it: "My music is definitely on some gangsta shit. That's what I was raised on and what I witnessed. How can I speak on anything else?"