I'm writing you this morning from the sunny streets of Koreatown, Los Angeles, where people look at me like I'm crazy for posting up in Starbucks with a laptop and it's somehow cooler than home. As in I'm wearing pants and a button-up and still a little cold, which is not what I was expecting from July in California. But being here also gives me an excuse to share someone I've got on the heaviest of rotations, a recent LA transplant by the name of Freddie Gibbs who rhymes harder and tighter than just about anyone else I'm listening to right now. And he's got the background to back up the flow: dude used to be a hustler and a goddamn real-life train robber. This is gangsta rap that only Gary, Indiana could produce. It's no NWA or 50 Cent, and Gibbs has no interest in pretending otherwise.
His pre-EP mixtape, the XXL-hosted Str8 Killa No Filla, dropped today and features the above track as well as another standout in "P.S.A"--in all, it sports tagged versions of six of the EP's seven tracks (excluding only "Oil Money" featuring Chuck Inglish, Chip The Ripper and Bun B). Jeff Weiss took an fascinating in-depth look at "Gangsta Gibbs" in a piece called "The Miseducation of Freddie Gibbs" for our sister paper LA Weekly that I highly recommend you check out. The guy didn't give up even after a failed deal with Interscope, and you should give the Str8 Killa EP a shot too when it drops on August 3 via Decon Records.