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.com 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."
- The Juice