Freddie Gibbs is an outspoken guy. Every time we speak with him, he’s got plenty to say about your favorite rapper. He recently stopped by the Complex office, and more than lived up to his rep. We asked him about his recent EP The Lord Giveth, The Lord Taketh Away with Statik Seletah, his upcoming mixtape Cold Day In Hell, and signing to Young Jeezy’s CTE.
We were also eager to find out what happened when he ran into Lil Wayne, Lil B, and DJ Khaled after taking shots at them in previous interviews. If that wasn’t enough, Gibbs also divulged details about the last fight he got into, gave thoughts on rappers like Drake throwing up gang signs, and spoke about how Big Sean and Wale’s music belong in the lost and found box...
Interview by Insanul Ahmed (@Incilin)
[Freddie Gibbs is reading Complex’s June/July issue with Rick Ross and Andy Samberg on the cover]
Enjoying the magazine?
Just looking at these goofy ass Maybach Music dudes.
What’s wrong with Maybach Music?
I don’t got no problem with Maybach, I like Maybachs. I can’t afford one.
I meant Maybach Music.
Ohh, Maybach Music. [Mumbles.]
You’re not a fan?
I bump CTE. I bump Young Jeezy.
What about your friend Pill?
I ain’t got a problem with Pill.
But you don’t bump his music anymore?
Do I bump Pill’s music anymore? I still bump Pill. I don’t want people thinking I got a problem with Pill.
Do you like “Pacman?”
“Pacman?” That’s the name of his song? I ain’t heard that shit. I like Pill’s old shit man.
Like “Trap Goin’ Ham”?
Yeah, I like that shit. He’s got that song “Coastin’” that I really like. So yeah I fuck with Pill.
We’ll come back to that in a minute.
Nah, fuck that, let’s talk about it! Nah, I’m just playing. [Laughs.]
I actually want to talk about CTE—
—You want to talk about Maybach Music Group?
[Laughs.] No, I know you want to talk about CTE.
Gibbs talks about signing with Jeezy
You’ve always talked about how you used to be on Interscope and how you’ve been through a lot of label drama. Was there any hesitation to sign to another label?
It’s always hesitation because you don’t know what they’ve got in store for you. It really takes trust. I had it in my mind that I wasn’t going into a situation unless I was getting what I wanted. I got what I wanted messing with Jeezy.
It wasn’t about no money or anything of that nature, it was just the fact that I feel I can take my music to the next level because that’s the most important thing. When people lose sight of that and get sidetracked by all of the other bullshit, it goes downhill. But as long as I keep the music and the shit in the lab first, I’ll be fine.
Is that why you trusted Jeezy?
Yeah. He had his own lane of music and I have my own lane. We combine the two, and I think that’s something great. That’s the main reason. Musically, that was my main focus. To be honest, I didn’t want to sign up under a rapper. I didn’t really want to do that because I can count the number of rappers I really respect on one hand. Probably with fingers missing.
You only respect three of four rappers?
Not no dudes I would sign under. But there’s rappers that I’ll fuck with and I’m cool with.
So there’s only a handful of rappers you would sign with.
Right. Not even handful, it’s a couple and Jeezy was one of them. And he gives me control of the shit I want to do. I don’t think CTE knew I was doing the Statik EP. They probably saw it on the Internet like everybody else. The thing is, I move. I don’t sit and wait for him to be like, “Hey man, do this.”
I learned that on my own when I was at Interscope. The mentality I had [back then was], “I’m signed. All I’ve gotta do is rap.” But [now I know] I need to put things in motion for myself. [At that time with Interscope], at the end of the day, they don’t give a fuck about you. You just a tax write-off.
But that’s not the situation at CTE. I’m not comparing the two because Interscope is a bunch of corporate motherfuckers and these is thug niggas. So it definitely ain’t the same situation. Everything Jeezy does is only going to enhance what I do.
And you mentioned there’s kind of a hesitation with signing to labels. The thing about Jeezy is that lately he’s been in a slump...
That’s what everybody says.
Did that influence your decision?
Nah, cause I ain’t sign with him cause he had the hottest song on the radio. That didn’t really matter to me. I already loved his music and respected him.
But is it fair to say he’s in a slump?
I’m not going to say he’s “in a slump.” I can say that he’s not as visible as other people. I mean shit, he’s got three platinum albums. Nigga probably took a break. A slump is if somebody is not making the same quality stuff. I think he’s still making the same quality stuff, but it might not be on the radio a hundred times an hour.
But he’s dropped three of four mixtapes and lots of singles.
I wouldn’t say he’s in a slump. I think he’s just been chilling, doing his thing, and gearing up for his TM103 album. The man’s been on the road doing shows. Every show I done been to with him has been a packed, crazy house. So shit, if you call that a slump, put me in a motherfucking slump.
When you signed to CTE, it was right after Ross signed a few people to MMG. It almost looked like a chess move on Jeezy’s part.
Yeah, it looked like that. But trust me, the shit we’re doing has nothing to do with the shit going on over there. It looked like that, but he ain’t trying to build no big Voltron robot to go against this nigga’s Voltron robot. It’s definitely not like that. It’s just thug niggas fucking with other real thug niggas.
Last time we spoke, you brought up the photo of Lil Wayne kissing Baby...
I ain’t got no problem with Lil Wayne. Jeezy just did a song with Lil Wayne.
Does the stuff you’ve said before ever come up?
About how he kissed somebody? That’s well-known. I just said something about it. People be like, “Oh, you dissed him.” I didn’t. I like that “Ballin” song Jeezy got Wayne on. Lil Wayne makes good music, he’s one of the best rappers. You can’t take that shit from him.
He’s like a nigga in basketball. You can play basketball, but off the court the nigga probably snort cocaine or is gay or some shit like that. I ain’t knocking your game on the court. Your off-the-court shit, it is what it is.
Have you ran into Wayne yet?
Yeah because I was in the “Ballin” video. I don’t have no…I love Lil Wayne. I grew up on the Hot Boyz. The shit that he do out of the booth, that ain’t got nothing to do with me. And I wasn’t the only person that commented on that. But I ain’t got no issue with that nigga man, he didn’t do shit to me.
Who else have you run into?
I just saw Wiz. Me & Curren$y did a show in Chicago and Wiz was there. Wiz was looking kinda scared of me. I was like “Wiz! You can come on, we ain’t gone hurt you.” He’s like “Okay man.” He seen all the niggas from Gary, Indiana. I’ve got like five or six dudes with me and they’re certified niggas. Most of these niggas will have like 30 niggas with them, but only two gonna fight. They just gone stand back. Trust me, I’ve seen it.
Last year you spoke out against DJ Khaled rapping.
I just didn’t like the fact that he was rapping. I just met that nigga at the King of Diamonds.
Shit happened. What a motherfucker gone say to me? He was like, “What’s up Gibbs, I fuck with your shit. Congrats.” And it’s love. That motherfucker’s the biggest DJ in Miami, I respect his shit. I just didn’t like that he was rapping. I don’t think a lot of DJ niggas should do that because it’s corny and it takes away from the time and effort that niggas like me put into the craft. You don’t see me with no motherfucking turntables.
I like DJ Khaled, he’s funny as fuck. I seen him at King of Diamonds and there were bitches all around him. That nigga was in a Phantom. You gone get some pussy if you’ve got a Phantom. I can’t hate on a nigga with a Phantom. When I seen him rap I was like “Aww….”
But that doesn’t mean these niggas is bad people. But they ain’t gone beat my ass when they see me. It’s just criticism. It just happens to get out and then some people take offense to it. There’s motherfuckers out there that don’t like my shit. It’s cool. Just don’t call me a bitch or a fag or nothing. Don’t disrespect me and it’s all good.
You’re known for being the outspoken guy. But Khaled is one of Jeezy’s people. Does Jeezy ever tell you, “Yo, chill with that.”
I mean, Jeezy and Carbon 15 [of CTE]... yeah, they kind of tell me [that]. They’ll be like, “Yo Gibbs, he’s alright.” But at the same time they want me to do me. I know they do business with certain people, it is what it is. To be frank, I ain’t gonna fuck with everybody Jeezy fucks with.
I fuck with him, but that don’t mean I gotta fuck with everybody he likes. And he might not fuck with everybody I like. We two different people. But we gone respect the people we’re each doing business with. I’m not gonna walk into no video shoot that he’s doing with these motherfuckers like, “Aww, this nigga a fag,” or “This nigga a bitch,” even though he might be that.
You were also talking about Ross before and how his rap persona was fake. When you first signed to CTE, was Jeezy aware that you were saying stuff like that?
I don’t even think he gave a fuck. It’s the same thing with Rick Ross, the nigga can rap. He makes good songs. I don’t have no personal problem with him either. All I did was comment on some shit that’s already known. Certain people just act like it didn’t happen.
I wasn’t saying, “He’s a bitch ass nigga, fuck his family, and I’ma fuck him up when I see him.” Nah. I wasn’t on some shit like that. I was just pointing out, “Okay, yeah, you like that shit, but did you also know this? Did you see that too?” I was championing some shit like, take some things into consideration. That’s all I was saying.
He’s a black man, feeding his family, and taking care of his. I ain’t knocking that whatsoever. And no one’s gonna come to me with no issues or no problems so I just say what I wanna say. Motherfuckers know where to come find me. They know where I’m at. If they’ve got an issue with something I say in print, on the Internet, or in a song...motherfuckers know where I’m at.
Gibbs talks Lil B, Big Sean, & Wale
Has anyone ever approached you about something you’ve said?
Some people said they would, but they didn’t.
Archie Bonkers (Freddie Gibbs’ manager): Yeah, like some of Lil B’s people said they would on Twitter.
Don’t even get me talking on that gay ass…
What’s wrong with Lil B?
I don’t got no problem with Lil B. I met Lil B.
Where did you meet him?
Somewhere in Cali at some rinky-dink, lame-ass, fake nigga industry party. All that shit was some bullshit, I just called it on that. And he told me, “You know what man, you right. I’m not gay man. It’s love Gibbs, man.” He thought I was about to dig into him, like do him like my song. But I’m not about to take my time to be dissing this nigga.
A motherfucker asked me a question [about his album title] in an interview and I was like, “That shit is corny, that shit is lame, I think he’s just doing some marketing shit.” Which he was. Nigga probably isn’t even gay. He might be gay, I don’t give a fuck if he is or isn’t.
Don’t get it twisted, I’m not knocking no gay people or gay-bashing. I just see a young black dude putting a message out there like, “I’m gay.” I think that a motherfucker with a platform like that should use that for something other than that.
I’ve got little cousins like, eight or nine years old and I feel sorry for them motherfuckers because of the rap that they’ve got to listen to now. This new shit for them is fucked up. I be looking at it like, “Damn, man. When I was coming up we had Rap-A-Lot, Death Row, and real shit like that.”
So you’re not a fan of the new school rappers?
Some of them I like. I guess I’m in that class. There’s certain niggas I fuck with, like Big K.R.I.T., Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock. I like Odd Future. I like they shit. They got they lane and they stay in it, they don’t try to be something that they’re not. And they actually make some good music. I like that nigga Frank Ocean, he’s dope as fuck. Their manager, Chris Clancey, that’s my nigga. I’m with some of the shit that comes out. It’s just like, if it’s too weird or fucked up for me or if it don’t got it’s own message, I just don’t fuck with it.
I don’t mind a motherfucker being weird. Odd Future, them niggas is definitely weird as fuck. But what they’ve got, it’s their shit. They’re not weird as fuck and trying to be gangsta or trying to be playas. Them niggas is weird and they’re weird. That’s what’s up. I got this street shit over here on lock.
The problem I think with rap right now is too many niggas without an identity. They don’t know what they want to be. If there’s a certain trend that’s hot, they gone run with that. If everybody throw on nut-tight jeans, that’s what these niggas do. And that shit is lame to me, that’s all.
I don’t think motherfuckers got their own identity and purpose. And nobody got no integrity. Niggas be rapping like other niggas, I don’t understand that shit. Sometimes it’s hard for me to tell the difference between Drake and Big Sean, so I be like, “Is this a Drake song or a Big Sean song?” I don’t know man, I don’t be fucking with shit like that.
CLICK NEXT TO SEE GIBBS TALK ABOUT BIG SEAN, DRAKE, & HIS UPCOMING PROJECTS
I think Drake has a lane, and he stays in it.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Drake makes some dope songs.
And what about Big Sean? He’s got a lane.
Yeah…he’s got a lane… These niggas don’t know what they want to be. If it was the most popping shit to be the most gangsta nigga—like it was back in the day—I guarantee them niggas would be on some hard shit. I guarantee they’d be twisting their fingers up. They already be trying to do it! It’ll be the element of niggas they be around and then they get on that brolic shit. Drake be throwing gang signs and shit, I be seeing whatever the fuck he’s throwing up. I don’t know. He go to the wrong place and he’ll be fucked up.
It’s just the nature of the times. It’s cool to be that corny motherfucker wearing the little jeans now, I guess. Girls like that. It’s cool to be the pretty boy. I don’t even know what these niggas is. I can’t even pinpoint them. I just be like, “What are you, my nigga? What’s your story?” I don’t like rap that doesn’t have a story behind it.
Like, you was just working at K-Mart and started rapping or something like that? It’s the backspin behind shit. How can I get to know you as a person by listening to your music? And what am I getting? What experience are you bringing me outside of a nigga rapping about fucking some bitches and you being hot? I just saw a Yung Berg video where he keeps being like, “Don’t make me do it.” I’m like, “Don’t make you do what? Get your chain took again?”
You think that’s true of a lot of hip-hop?
Most of it.
When we started this interview you were talking about Maybach Music, do you think that’s true for them?
I think they make cool shit, that’s, they stay in they…whatever. I don’t really pay attention to them man, I’m too focused on CTE so I don’t know. But I know individualy all of them dudes...I don’t know. I don’t listen to Wale. Pill’s solid. Ross makes solid records. I don’t know Meek Mill too much, but I definitely don’t listen to Wale’s shit.
Cause it ain’t my shit.
Well Wale’s definitely someone I’d compare to a Big Sean-kind of guy.
What kind of guy is that? See, you can’t even fucking pinpoint it. You can’t even put these niggas in a box and label it. All of these niggas. Big Sean, Wale. You just said “Big Sean is like a Wale kind of guy.” What is that? Fucking weirdos, right?
No, the weirdos would be like Lil B. That’s Swag Rap.
That’s some buttfuck rap. That’s a whole issue. I’m saying, you can’t even put these niggas [like Wale and Big Sean] in a category. You don’t know what the fuck they are. I’m a gangsta rapper. That shit is just like if you had a box in here of shit you didn’t want, it was just miscellaneous shit, that’s where you’d throw them niggas. It’s a box of lost and found shit.
Well yeah, I guess they’re more alternative hip-hop.
What the fuck is alternative hip-hop? When did that shit get made up? Watch, next year that’s going to be a category at the Grammys. Alternative hip-hop. What the fuck is that?
Well it’s not gangsta rap.
See, that’s the thing though, not all rap’s gotta be gangsta rap. De La Soul wasn’t gangsta rap. But that shit is classic. A Tribe Called Quest wasn’t gangsta rap, but that shit is classic.
But that’s Native Tongues, though. That had a genre.
Right, what’s this new niggas’ genre?
I’m sure there’s an actual name for this genre, I just can’t think of it off the top.
I don’t know man, I just make real rap. Put me in my own box, just don’t put me in a box with them niggas.
Speaking of gangsta rap, there aren’t many gangsta rappers left. Gangsta rap is in a weird place.
There aren’t that many gangsta rappers left because these niggas get exposed. We live in the Internet age so you can look up a nigga’s background real quick and be like, “Man, you didn’t do that.” And then motherfuckers figure you ain’t real and they don’t like you anymore.
But then you’ve got certain motherfuckers where that don’t even matter. They just snitch, and be police. And people just be like, “Fuck it, everybody’s a snitch, everybody’s police now. I’m just gonna rock with it, I like the way that sounds.”
That’s why there are no gangsta rappers anymore because they don’t want to play around with the role that they know that they not because somebody can come check you on that shit. That’s the reason for the shortage. And motherfuckers just ain’t making dope shit no more. Motherfuckers are just like, “Yeah nigga, I got 50 guns.” Shut the fuck up, nigga. Come to my hood. I’ll show you 50 guns.
Last time we asked, you had a funny story. So when was the last time you got into a fight?
A few months ago when I punched this nigga in the eye because his dog bit my dog. It wasn’t even really a fight, I hit the nigga two times and he didn’t hit me back. It happened in downtown L.A. I was walking my dog and then this motherfucker was like, “Oh, I got a pitbull too!” I’m like, “Okay man, cool.”
But then he pushed their heads together and then they start fighting. I didn’t want to get in the middle of that shit cause I didn’t want to get bit. So I just kicked his dog in the head, to separate them. That’s what you do to a pit, just hit ‘em in the head. So I kicked the fuck outta his dog and he pushed me like, “Don’t kick my fucking dog.” So I just fired on him. Boom, boom.
He was like, “Man, what the fuck! I’m going to call the cops!” I was like, “Fuck you, I’m about to go up to my apartment, [get my gun], and shoot you and your dog.” I came back down with my gun too. But he left.
In [my hometown] Gary, Indiana, I could’ve killed him and his dog, and just sat there. But not in L.A., I’m already on probation for my gun. In Gary, if a nigga’s dog bites you, you can shoot the nigga and his dog. In Gary, they ain’t tripping.
How did your new project with Statik Selektah come about?
It started when he hit me up and was like, ‘You wanna do an EP in 24 hours?” I was like, “What? Hell nah man, you know I don’t work like that.” I’ll do like one song in a night and sit with that motherfucker for like 3 days. But that project worked out great! I could work at that level if I have to, knocking that shit out in a night. I just don’t usually do it so it was something new. It just showed me I was still better than everybody else.
With the livestream, is there more pressure knowing people are watching you?
I don’t give a fuck, I do shows in front of a lot of people. I just talk shit on stage. It’s certain shit I’m not gonna let motherfuckers Ustream. Like I wouldn’t let a motherfucker Ustream me fucking a bitch or selling dope or no shit like that. But it was big and it was cool. I didn’t know that that many people were gonna look at me rap.
So you’ve also got the upcoming mixtape Cold Day In Hell. What can you tell me about it?
It’s gonna be dope as fuck. On the mixtape, it’s niggas I fuck with [like Young Jeezy, Bun B, Daz, Juicy J]. I fuck with people that fuck with me and just build relationships through that. I ain’t about to be calling your manager, your publicist, your homeboy, your momma, and all that shit to get you on my song. If you want to do it, let’s do it.
I don’t like it if we can’t really vibe. If we making a song, we need to chop it up, kick it, smoke, or something. If you don’t smoke, drink, you need to let me fuck one of your hoes or something. We gotta have some type of bond!
Me and K.R.I.T. just did some work. He had to deal with me for 30 days on the road. He ain’t have no choice. I was going to bug his ass every day at every stop until we did some shit. LRG did the artwork [for Cold Day In Hell]. Motherfuckers might not be able to listen to the CD, they’re going to be looking at the artwork.
The mixtape is gonna drop mid-July. [The mixtape didn’t drop in June because] I just wanted to add more shit. I ain’t want to rush it out. Plus there was some corny motherfuckers dropping their shit that day and I ain’t want to drop the same day as them. I ain’t want my shit to get lost in the sauce with all that bullshit. So I was just like I’ll let these niggas have their day.
It was my birthday, I was in Hawaii so I didn’t give a fuck. I was drinking Mai Tais and snorkeling, nigga. I put on that snorkeling gear and I instantly could swim. I was like, “What the fuck? I can breath underwater? Let’s go!” I was swimming with turtles, big ass eels, and stingrays and shit. Nigga, I was the black Jacques Cousteau that day, that’s for sure.
What’s in the future for Freddie Gibbs?
Next year, my album is definitely coming. I’ve got so much shit I’m about to put out this year, I got some stuff for the end of the summer and the fall. And more opportunities pop up every day. I ain’t tripping. I’m in a good place. I ain’t in jail and I don’t work at McDonald’s. I’m good.
I’m going to stay out on the road and keep being one of the most creative motherfuckers out here. Everything I do, it’s a calculated step. You’ve just got to do things different than the next motherfucker. I don’t want to be put in that miscellaneous box.