Review ·

The great irony of Freddie Gibbs’ widening underground fame is that 15 years ago, he would have been looked at as just another regional response to the gritty street journalism of Tupac, Nas, Jay-Z and many others. But now, grimy, no-hook-having chronicles of passing Spam hand-to-hand get you dropped from major labels and left to work the mixtape circuit. Gibbs’ backstory is especially egregious, since he was shuffled out of Interscope when the label decided to throw its lot in with emo-fied rappers who have since imploded (Charles Hamilton) or just plain stink (Shwayze). But there’s little doubt that the blogs have been kinder to Gibbs than any A&R man has been: The Gary, Ind., rapper is a rising star, releasing his first official release -- following two 2009 mixtapes, and one from a week ago, Str8 Killa, No Filla -- the solid Str8 Killa EP.

Str8 Killa is probably the best entry point into Gibbs’ charms for the uninitiated: There’s the double-time flow about slinging (“Live By The Game”), the reality-charged tale of his life as a hustler (EP highlight “National Anthem (Fuck The World)”), a hazy, sing-song, things-can’t-get-any-worse grinder (“Rock Bottom”) and a song about smoking kush (“Personal OG”). There’s also some modest concessions to the standard debut: There are a bunch of features on Str8 Killa, including the great all-star posse cut “Oil Money” with Bun B, Chick Inglish, Chip Tha Ripper and Dan Auerbach from the Black Keys all popping in.


But Gibbs is still the undisputed focus, as his gravelly, alternately lively and hollow voice and his unrelenting commitment to authenticity (“Live By The Game” has a novelist’s attention to detail) make Str8 Killa more than just an eight-song EP. It’s a splendid coming out party for one of the more promising MCs in hip-hop right now. His mixtapes still might be better (especially Midwestgangstaboxframecadillacmuzik), but Str8 Killa is the first step toward Gibbs regaining the label contract that is so rightfully his.  





Still Flyin' - A Party In Motion Miguel All I Want Is You

its ridiculous that anyone thought Charles Hamilton had more potential than this dude, regardless of accessibility


No kidding. But Interscope really did choose Chucky over Gibbs, then had to course correct by signing Yelawolf.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/thestorfer/1202393jpeg.jpeg andross

Chuck would have been fine if he was born with a sense for quality control.

Nice review, though, storfalorf.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/Andrew_Martin/me.jpg Andrew_Martin

Possible. I remember really liking Brooklyn Girls the first time I heard it,, dude just wore out his welcome asap


Thanks A-Mart. I think Hamilton was the first rapper to entirely cast his lot with the Internet set. I mean, Soulja Boy was a hit on the Internet first, but he had real success off the computer. Chuck seemed to be only concerned with how he was perceived on the internet, which made everyone realize how crazy he was in real life.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/thestorfer/1202393jpeg.jpeg andross

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