Freddie Gibbs on Baby-Faced Killa, Commercial Hip-Hop, and Being His Own Boss

I'm positive that wherever you are reading this, whatever you were doing before reading this, you're not having more fun than Freddie Gibbs. I phoned the Gary, Indiana-based rapper last Friday, and could barely make out his laid-back voice over the roar of the early afternoon party going down on his tour bus.

Gibbs has a lot to celebrate these days. The rapper was dropped by Interscope Records in 2007, but he rebounded, issuing a series of mixtapes featuring his old school, G-Funk-inspired sound. Earlier this year, Gibbs signed to Young Jeezy's CTE label, and his forthcoming record, Baby-Faced Killa is building a steady flow of hype.

Gibbs took some time to answer a few of my questions, favoring concise, steady answers to long winding ones. And why not? He had a party to get back to.

Gibbs and Jeezy are scheduled to perform Thursday, August 25, at Celebrity Theatre.

Up on the Sun: So you're currently on tour with Young Jeezy, who signed you to CTE Records. Any idea when Baby-Faced Killa is going to come out? Freddie Gibbs: Probably some time next year, [but] I'm going to have some projects before the end of the year, I just shot a new video with Freeway. Shit...this other secret project that I'm about to unveil. Just doing some stuff, some cool beats to keep my name out there.

You're working with Cool Kids, as well, right?

That's in the works, too. I'm focused on getting my solo stuff out there. You were signed to Interscope for awhile. What happened with that. Were they just dragging their feet on releasing an album?

It was the guys running my situation. They didn't know what they were doing. It was a bad marriage. That's all. I don't regret it. It's something that taught me a lot about the game.

But CTE is a better fit, right? Do you feel like you're in a better place?

Yeah, definitely. I'm the boss. I'm all boss. I got control of my career now. I've had to put that in my own hands. At first I didn't, and that was my mistake. You've got to live and learn.

I really liked Str8 Killer - you had Dan Auerbach on that. Where you on the BlakRoc record?

I wish I was. I love that shit.

I think BlakRoc is planning another album, with Curren$y and Cool Kids. Maybe you could be on that.

Definitely, I'm a fan of his stuff. I'm getting into some rock acts. Anybody who comes with that heat, I'll fuck with.

I feel like you've got an old school vibe. It doesn't feel the same as hip hop radio. What is your perception of the state of commercial hip-hop?

I dunno. Not like me. Yeah. I don't know...it's different. It's so watered down and payola, it's whatever you pay for. You've always gotta pay somebody. Other than that, I'm into making the best kind of music that I want to make.

You've got a much harder sound than the pop rap on the dial.

That's what I grew up on. I came up in that era of music. Suave House, Death Row-era, that N.W.A. shit. That's what I grew up on, and that's what I represent.

How's the tour going so far?

We're two weeks in it, so far. My goal on tour is to capture more fans. Get Jeezy's fans hip to me. It's working out well so far.

So how far along is Baby-Faced Killa? A lot of people are excited for it.

I don't know. With each day comes new songs, you scrap songs, put out mixtapes, stuff like that. I can't really gauge how far along I am. I might have it all done it two weeks [for all I know].

You'll know when it's right.


You're always releasing mixtapes, so it's not like people have to wait to hear some new stuff.

I'm going to release shit, but I'm just slow cooking the music. I don't want to rush it.

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Jason P. Woodbury is a music and pop-culture writer based in Phoenix. He is a regular contributor to the music blog Aquarium Drunkard and co-host of the Transmissions podcast.