Indiana gangster rapper Freddie Gibbs announced Sunday (Apr. 10) that he has ended his long period as an unsigned artist and inked a deal with Corporate Thugz Entertainment (CTE) Records, the Def Jam-owned imprint founded by Young Jeezy.
After raising his profile with acclaimed releases like 2009 mixtape "The Miseducation of Freddie Gibbs" and last year's "Str8 Killa" EP, Gibbs tells Billboard.biz that partnering with Jeezy was a logical step before he begins focusing on his debut album, "Baby Faced Killa."
"Jeezy just recognized my grind and I jumped on board with him to enhance it," says Gibbs. "Artistically, we're in the same mind frame. We come from very similar backgrounds -- poverty. That's something that we can both relate to, something that we can convey in our music. So that right there alone is a slam dunk."
Gibbs signed to Interscope in 2006 but left the label a year later before releasing any material. At a show last night in Chicago, the rapper invited Young Jeezy onstage and the pair ensured the crowd that Gibbs' time at CTE would be much more substantial.
"After I got dropped by Interscope, I knew in my heart that I had to fight back some way, or not rap at all," says Gibbs. "I just took it upon myself to get myself where I needed to be. I feel proud that I got to this point on my own, but I got a long way to go."
Before Gibbs begins prepping his debut album, he will issue "A Cold Day in Hell," a new mixtape and his first release on CTE Records, this summer. Meanwhile, the rapper confirms that he will be featured on "Thug Motivation 103," the long-delayed fourth full-length from Young Jeezy due out later this year. Gibbs says of Young Jeezy's first album since 2008, "It's gonna be homey coming back with some heat."