At just under 30 years old, Freddie Gibbs, who opens for Raekwon at Revolution this Friday, April 6, boasts more than a decade in the hip-hop game already. All right, in hip-hop, that's actually several lifetimes, and that makes Gibbs pretty much a wise old battle veteran. Yet for many recent years, it's seemed that he's perpetually on-the-verge. Despite the hype, an Interscope Records deal fizzled, the planned album as part of it shelved, and Indiana native Gibbs has remained independent since then.
Still, that murky territory between underground and overground seems to suit him well, as his personal style falls right in that middle as well. He's worked with people like Chuck Inglish and Mikey Rocks of the Cool Kids, notably in the group P.O.C., which also includes fellow Midwesterner Chip tha Ripper. Gibbs' style provides a nice counterpoint to those guys, but it's far more raw than that of the Cool Kids, especially.
He's named Tupac as a large influence, and that's something that comes through in not only photos of himself but in his midtempo flow and gruff swagger. There's something definitively street about Freddie Gibbs, but there's enough actual rapping skill involved to attract the adoration of bloggers and true hip-hop geeks.
And despite the Interscope fiasco, Gibbs remains highly prolific as an independent artist, with mixtapes following one another in quick succession. The most recent is Cold Day in Hell, a 17-track offering featuring production from the J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League, most notably, and guest appearances from the likes of Young Jeezy, Juicy J, and Dom Kennedy. It's with this last singer that one of best tracks on the mixtape appears, with Gibbs' nimble but blunted delivery contrasting against Kennedy's smooth crooning.
Unsurprisingly, though Cold Day in Hell is a couple of months old, Gibbs recently announced his next release, a Gangsta Grillz mixtape with DJ Drama. He's also rumored to be working on a new track with Raekwon, which only makes sense given the amount of time they must have together on the road.
Stream and download Cold Day in Hell below.
Freddie Gibbs. With Raekwon, JD Era, and Kofi Black. 8 p.m. Friday,
April 6, at Revolution, 100 SW Third Ave., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost
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