Next up in our New Black History series is rapper and self-proclaimed comedian, Freddie Gibbs. The man who might jsut be your favorite rapper's favorite rapper sat with us to speak on his journey from growing up in Gary, Indiana to international fame and influence in the hip-hop community, and what black history means to him. Catch the video and full interview below.
Tell us your name, where are you from, and what you do.
Freddie Gibbs: My name is Freddie Gibbs. I'm from Gary, Indiana. I'm currently unemployed, but I'm a comedian and I rap a little bit sometimes too.
So your journey stems from the Gary, Indiana/Chicago area. What about Indiana and Chicago inspires your creativity?
FG: I was inspired to get out of that Gary, Chicago area because for one thing it's colder than a motherfucker. I can cuss and shit, right? Oh yeah, it was cold. I'm sorry. So that was the main thing really, man. I was like, "Man, I got to get to California or Florida or something like that. I need to hustle my way up out of here, man." It was very, very cold and I just wanted to just experience some new things and bring some new culture into my life. I felt like living in Gary, I was lacking a lot of culture. I never went to school with a white person or a Latin person before. My class was like 95% black. It wasn't really diverse. So, the music thing kind of brought me into different worlds. You know what I'm saying? Different things. It opened me up to a lot of different things.
What does black history mean to you?
FG: From traveling a lot and seeing a lot of different things, (I have) a different perspective on things from different countries. I used to look at black history as just an American thing or something like that. Just I feel like they taught it to us in school. It's just a slave story, you know what I mean? From me, from my standpoint, it was kind of taught to us in a self pity kind of way, like we should be thankful for the shit we got now because we went through that. Which is understandable to a certain point, but I don't know.
I just started looking at black history from a more global point. So I just try to look at it from a wider view. There's definitely things in America that we innovated. You know what I mean? There's a lot of shit in this room y'all wouldn't have if it weren't for black people.
What do you view as the new black history?
FG: I think that we create black history every day, with the music and the culture, the clothing, the medical innovations. My baby brother is the first doctor from my neighborhood that I ever saw in our age group. So things like that. It's a lot of young black professionals. It's out there doing anything, really changing the world, and they don't really get celebrated as much as a rapper or a ball player or something. It's really people out there making moves and making innovations for our community and I don't think they get celebrated enough. My brother is a gynecologist actually. He’s one of the only black gynecologists in his field in Chicago. So, especially at his age, he’s definitely the youngest. People like that really show you the essence of how great black people really are.
Another major thing in regards to black history is black and brown people get to see you and see that there is somebody who looks like them. It could be that you could inspire them. Do you want to speak on that?
FG: Where I come from in Gary, there wasn't even really any entertainers, rappers, anything like that and really, within the music industry, we could really draw from. Especially my generation. I mean, we had Michael Jackson. But in the hip hop world, we didn't really have anybody coming out of my city. So I feel like I kind of innovated that so a lot of guys under me can now see that that can be done, coming out of a small town. Because when I started doing it, it was kind of on the cusp of the internet era. It was before SoundCloud and all of that. I kind of used the internet to my advantage, when a lot of guys before me didn't get up on it and educate themselves on that.
How will you create history?
FG: I definitely hope that if ther’s a rap hall of fame, I get into that when I'm done making music. Hopefully people look at what I've done musically and say it is legendary. As far as everything else, I want to make films, I want to do a lot of things, and anything that's furthering my legacy and my family name, that's history to me.
Everything that we add individually to the culture is part of black history. So I think that I've definitely helped shape the scope of what rap is right now. So I'm definitely adding to black history.