Lots of side-eyed glances and hip-hop blog grousing followed the announcement last spring that L.A.-via-Gary, Indiana rapper Freddie Gibbs had signed with Atlanta trap star Young Jeezy's label, CTE.
But was Gangsta Gibbs signing his death sentence? Not so much. In fact, it may well have been a savvy move, a chance for him to snatch some southern fans a la Wale's signing with Rick Ross. In any case, Jeezy and Gibbs perform tonight at House of Blues, and you should go. (Look for Ian Cohen's review here tomorrow.) Gibbs is one of the strongest, most technically impressive rappers around, even if he believes the rap game to be "corny as fuck."
In our interview, he talks about his top-secret new project, what he listens to on the tour bus, and what a typical day is like on a Jeezy tour.
So you've been on tour for about a month. What do you miss about L.A.?
I miss L.A. all the time. I miss my car--
You just bought another car, didn't you?
Yeah, I bought a 2012 black Cadillac CTS Coupe.
What? You bought a new new car? I thought you liked old cars?
I do, but I had to switch it up a bit. But I miss my old car, my Monte Carlo sitting in my garage.
I also miss Smokey, my pitbull. Definitely the weed. And the tacos! I get 'em everywhere, but my favorite place was at SXSW called Coreanos. I think it was founded in L.A., but I don't think they have it in L.A. anymore. Best taco I've ever had. And the beach, I go there every Sunday. I try to go to Venice and walk around, talk to all the weirdos.
Do you talk to them and buy their rap CDs? Do they know who you are?
Sometimes they know me, but I tell 'em I don't listen to rap. I tell 'em I like country. And hell yeah, I listen to country--Travis Tritt, Randy Travis, all the Travises. Shit, what's that one dude's name that did a song with Nelly? I like Johnny Cash. He made gangsta country music.
When you're riding on the tour bus, what do you listen to?
I have weird playlists--R&B shit, trying to stay calm. But I've been in work mode, so I've been listening to a lot of shit we've done in the studio out here. Basically, I'm in gangsta rap mode right now. Jeezy and I just finished The Real is Back II.
What about your next album?
I'm gonna put out that Cold Day in Hell real soon, and then I got that little secret album I just did. I'm gonna put that out soon.
With that producer I was telling you about, that underground producer nobody would ever think I would work with.
Are you sure you told me? It's a big secret?
[Laughs] Yeah. You can tell people I'm doing it, just as long as you don't know who I'm doing it with! I thought I told you, but welllll, I can't tell you now. [Laughs] It's gonna be dope, though. It should come out end of October. He's not a mainstream hip-hop producer. People gonna be like, "What the fuck?!" It's some left field shit. He's a rap producer, but people in Gary probably haven't heard of him. This is that artistic stuff I was talking about.
I ain't switching up my flow, but I'm doing it to different beats, goin' with a different style. My shit is the same; this is just gonna show that I can mesh what I do with that.
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Are you and Jeezy hanging out a lot?
I don't have a choice, I'm on the bus with him [laughs]. He makes me hang out. Ok, this is our daily routine: Smoke weed on the way to the city we're driving to. Get to the city. Get chased by groupies tryin' to flag us down and find the hotel. Do radio. Eat. Get a haircut. Smoke some more weed--well, we smoke weed while we're doin' all of this, anyway. Get dressed for the show. I do my show, he does his. Then we do the afterparty or go to a strip club. Then we pour champagne on bitches.
I'm quoting you on that.
[Laughs] That's cool, I'm with it.