Str8 KillaAlbum | Freddie Gibbs By Chris Payne
Midwestern gangsta rapper makes strong opening statement.
With the release of Str8 Killa, Gary, Indiana's Freddie Gibbs finally makes his opening statement. After a short-lived stay with Interscope Records that produced no releases, the 28-year old rapper dropped a pair of well-received mixtapes (The Miseducation of Freddie Gibbs and The Labels Tryin' To Kill Me) that allowed him to leave the industrial midwest for southern California. Gibbs' lyrics reveal a devotee to gangsta tradition: on the Tupac-eqsue "National Anthem," he skillfully uses the genre's tropes to represent the hardships of his upbringing. The title track is an absolute burner, in the vein of Lil' Wayne's "Three Peat." On closer "Oil Money," Gibbs pulls a Kanye West, bringing on weathered indie rock vocals from Black Keys' Dan Auerbach to punctuate the chorus. "Monster" comparisons aside, this is an EP that swings for the fences in almost all areas, most notably via big T.I. style beats. The confident MC handles them with the cocksure swagger that suggests he could make Gary, Indiana very proud in the near future, and hip-hop purists should be smiling along with them.