Freddie Gibbs is a rapper known for his street lyricism, sharp flows, and versatility. His real name is Frederick Tipton and he was born in Gary, Indiana on June 14, 1982. He never had aspirations to be a in music. Learn about other great Midwest rappers in our Artist Spotlight articles!
In 1995, when Freddie Gibbs was 13, Gary, Indiana was recognized as the murder capital of the world. He states that there were not a lot of opportunities for him growing up. The best available options for him were to work at a factory,like his uncles, or at the post office.
However, Freddie states that he used to drive past Michael Jackson’s childhood house in Gary and get inspired to do more with his life. He saw football as his way out and was able to obtain an athletic scholarship from Ball State University. He would end getting kicked out from both school and the military within the span of 2 years for behavioral issues.
After being forced to move back to Gary, he began hanging around his old neighborhood and getting involved in street life. Coincidentally, his crew rapped in their free time and he took a liking to it. He would utilize it as a way to express some of the hardships that he faced growing up in Gary.
He would release his first 3 mixtapes, Full Metal Jackit, Full Metal Jackit Vol. 2, and This Is My Hustle, in 1 year, showcasing his now lauded prolific work ethic. This caught the eye of Interscope Records and he would go on to be signed to the label in 2006.
Unfortunately, the label did not like the music that he was producing and dropped him a couple of years later. Freddie Gibbs, in Los Angeles, with no major label backing, started to hustle the underground music scene. He would release his several mixtapes and work his rounds in the underground until the release of his mixtape midwestgangstaboxframecadillacmuzik, which received rave reviews from Pitchfork and featured Houston legend Devin the Dude.
A year later, he would be featured on the 2010 XXL Freshman list with the likes of J. Cole, Nipsey Hussle, and Wiz Khalifa. He would go on to be signed by Young Jeezy to his label CTE and would go on tour with him in 2011. In 2012, Freddie left the label due to creative differences, leaving him without a label and strong structure.
In a last ditch effort to revive his music career, Freddie Gibbs began working on a project entitled Pinata with acclaimed underground producer Madlib, who has worked with Kanye West and MF Doom. He released his first single, “Thuggin”, for the project in 2012, which now has over 40 million streams on all streaming platforms collectively.
The record began to pick up buzz in the underground and almost 2 years later Freddie Gibbs released Pinata to universal acclaim. It is now considered a modern day classic, with blunt street raps told over Madlib’s offbeat soul samples. The record also had incredible features from artists such as Danny Brown, Earl Sweatshirt, and Mac Miller.
Freddie Gibbs then released Shadow of a Doubt two years later, which allowed him to go on his first headlining tour. During the European leg of his tour, he was arrested on sexual assault charges in Austria, which were later dropped and was proven to be falsely accused. He has addressed the racist treatment that he received while in jail in Europe in multiple interviews.
While he was out on bond and awaiting trial, he began recording Bandana, his second collaborative project with Madlib.The record would end up coming out in 2019 second to further critical acclaim and rave reviews.
This record showed that Freddie Gibbs did not let his treatment in jail and the emotional turmoil affect his creativity. He would release a collaborative project with legendary producer Alchemist entitled Alfredo, which featured Tyler the Creator, Rick Ross, and Benny the Butcher. The record was a commercial success with the record “Something to Rap About” with Tyler the Creator receiving close to 50 million streams on Spotify.
The record was a lot more mature and reflective. Freddie Gibbs reflects on being a father and losing touch with a lot of his friends from the streets. Alfredo would go on to be nominated for a Grammy for Best Rap Album, losing to Nas’ King’s Disease.
He will release his new album SSS soon and the lead single “Gang Signs” with Schoolboy Q has over 30 million streams on Spotify.
He has also forayed into acting, starring in the movie Down With the King in 2021 and landing recurring roles in Power Book IV:Force and Bust Down. Despite a bumpy road in the industry, things are looking up for Freddie. Check out his gritty street tales on Spotify!