When rapper Freddie Gibbs visits the UW Union South Sett this Saturday, he'll bring along a deep catalog of songs. This may come as a surprise since he hasn't released an LP after nearly 10 years in the game. But the Gary, Ind., native hasn't let years of false starts and label drama hold him back. Instead, he's released more than a dozen EPs and mixtapes. He's also supposed to unveil a solo album, The Neck Tie Party, later this year. Here are five essential tracks to help you prepare for the show.
'National Anthem (Fuck the World)'
This track from 2010's Str8 Killa EP is the closest thing Gibbs has to a feel-good, sing-along song. The centerpiece of his live set for nearly three years, it's also a good primer on Gibbs himself. It showcases his smooth yet gritty flow and dynamic storytelling, which often centers on underdog characters.
'What It Be Like'
Recorded for a major-label record deal that crumbled in 2007, this Polow da Don-produced banger eventually appeared on Gibbs' 2009 mixtape The Miseducation of Freddie Gibbs. It was supposed to be a pop concession, but Gibbs doesn't have that in him. The chorus of this menacing track seems to mention every mainstream street gang ever. He doesn't call himself "Gangsta Gibbs" for nothing.
Gibbs raps about striving for the success that's eluding him over a haunting beat on this standout from his latest mixtape, Baby Face Killa, an affair hosted by DJ Drama.
Since 2011, Gibbs has threatened to make his first LP a joint project with legendary underground producer Madlib (of Madvillain fame). But he ultimately chose to do two EPs. The title track from the second one, 2012's Shame, showcases the strengths of both performers: grimy verses from Gibbs and deep, dusty grooves from Madlib.
"Cans of Spam hand to hand" is one of the many small details captured in the verses of this soulful track from 2010's Str8 Killa No Filla. Here Gibbs chronicles the stark realities of what it's like living in "the hood, the barrio, the slums."