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With his deep-voiced delivery, rough-hewn honesty, and laid-back swagger, rapper Freddie Gibbs offers the perfect amalgam of his Midwest roots and latter-day L.A. residence. As Gibbs's recent single, "The Ghetto," declares, he was raised in "the ghetto, the ghetto-ghetto" (in case there was any question) of Gary, Indiana, where corrupt law enforcement, neglected schools, and a horrendous murder rate left few options for the young and impoverished. The rap career came as an afterthought, initiated while Gibbs was supplying drugs to the regulars at an area recording studio.
A hasty deal with Interscope led to his relocation to the West Coast, into the former stomping grounds of one of his most audible influences, Tupac. Unfortunately, the cash-strapped label dropped Gibbs before he released a single record, and he has since had to claw his way to notoriety through mixtape releases and word of mouth. It's been a hard road, but Gibbs is clearly on his way. Witness the climb in person.