Freddie Gibbs Details The Nightmare Of Being Falsely Accused Of Sexual Assault (Video)
In September 2016, Freddie Gibbs was acquitted of sexual assault charges, a celebratory bookend to what was otherwise a traumatic ordeal for the Gary, Indiana rapper. However, his acquittal was hardly the end of the saga. Understandably, the experience will have lingering effects on him, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. Despite the misplaced charges being dismissed, there is little doubt the case will follow him to varying degrees throughout his life and career, leaving his future in music in questionable standing – at least, that’s a sentiment he recently shared in an incredibly open and visceral interview.
On the most recent episode of Viceland’s The Therapist, Gibbs sat down with Dr. Siri Sat Nam Singh, a licensed therapist who walks Gibbs through the emotional ordeal and how it has impacted his perspective on life. To begin, Gibbs offers up some brief details about the backstory to his European trial, saying “I was falsely accused of sexual assault” before explaining that, “in 2015, I did a show in Vienna, Austria. Some females had accompanied some of my associates back to the hotel. Whatever sexual thing happened, I don’t know the details, because I wasn’t in the room when it happened.” He continues, “I did a show in Paris and the day after, I go into my hotel room and people just popped out of nowhere…the girl had changed her story and said ‘I had a dream that Freddie Gibbs raped me, too’…So, basically, I got indicted off of some dream. Total nightmare.” (4:10)
After describing the case as being an ordeal based entirely on racial constructs, Gibbs recounts at the 4:40 mark “every night, my face [was] on the news in a White country for raping two White women. A Black man, from America. That stain on my name, it’s traumatizing.” He then begins to detail his experience being incarcerated, first in France and then in Austria. “The language barrier alone was a fight. I didn’t know what this person in my cell was saying. I don’t know what this guard is saying. I don’t know what y’all think about me.” “I would get teased by the guards. They would come by my cell at three in the morning and flash the light and tell me to rap. They’d have their camera phones out and shit like that. They placed me in a cell block with swastikas. I don’t need to be eating, bathing amongst this [expletive]. I don’t deserve that. I work hard enough in life to get away with that…I felt like I was in captivity.” (5:03)
Dr. Singh then turns the conversation towards the unspoken tenets of race relations at play, which include “Black men are not to have sex with a White woman, and we’re not to kill White people. They can kill us, and not go to jail. They can take us out of our house and lynch us. Those issues are there [in your case].” Gibbs agrees, saying “I feel like I was on trial for having sex with a White girl, and when it was found out, scientifically, that I didn’t have sex with her…I had the science on my side,” suggesting that without such evidence, he would have surely been found guilty based on centuries of systemic racism.
At the 7:36 mark, Gibbs is asked what he’s doing with the residual anger he must be harboring. “A lot of this made me angry at the world,” he says. “It made me angry at Europeans in general, for a minute. Angry at my friends, my job. Myself. I’m still not sure if I wanna, you know, even do this anymore. I don’t even think I’ve been in the booth since I’ve been back.”
In the second segment, which begins at the 8:39 mark, Gibbs discusses what Dr. Singh calls the “veiled depression” that has manifested itself in the rapper. Gibbs credits his daughter and family with keeping him motivated, because at one point during his ordeal he feared not seeing his loved ones for many years. “I felt like everything that I worked for was being taken away from me, right at the height of my career,” he says. “This situation took a lot out of me, mentally…if I could just fade to black, I would be fine with that, and just chill and take care of my family,” Gibbs says in what sounds like an internal debate concerning the possibility of retiring from music altogether. “When I say I want to fade to black, I mean [this situation] made me, like, socially awkward. I don’t want to be around people. I don’t trust nobody.”
Gibbs, near the 12:23 mark, begins to explain how his legal troubles have shown him the true colors of those he felt were his supporters. “It showed me who was really in my corner, when it was said and done. I saw who was trying to get attention from me getting out. That’s why I kinda refrained from all that social media. I had people FaceTiming me and taking screenshots, just so they could post it on Instagram, and, you know, shit like that. A lot of shit is just invasions of the privacy of myself and my family,” he says.
“My self esteem and my love for myself is always there. I think that I’m just waiting on a right moment to really unleash again,” Gibbs explains near the 15:40 mark. “I think that, right now, I’m just collecting my thoughts and refining myself, so to speak.” It’s then that Dr. Singh discusses Freddie’s – and, by extension, all of our – life cycles, given that he is 35. “You’re entering a life cycle change, that’s one component of [what you’re going through]. Every 18 years, your whole life is going to change. So, seven, 11, and 18, these are cycle changes. Every seven years, your consciousness changes.” At 35, says Singh, Gibbs is “going through a conscious change [with] different friends,” as well as the “impact on your relationship with women and your relationship with your career” that have been affected by his sexual assault trial.
He continues, “every 11 years, your intelligence changes. And, every 18 years, your whole life changes. That’s when marriages break up, people change careers, people move from one city to the next. What you did the last 18 is not gonna work the next 18.” As Gibbs inches closer to age 36, such a life cycle is imminent, according to Singh. Gibbs seems to recognize the veracity in that analysis, saying “I definitely feel it’s about to be some type of, I don’t know, spike” (17:36).
In the closing segment of their session, Dr. Singh asks Gibbs to reflect on some of his past lyrics and how they affect him now. In particular, Singh references lyrics from Gibbs’ “Thuggin,” from his collaborative LP with Madlib, Piñata (“I live on borrowed time, my expiration date, I passed it“). “Where is God in this? How do you relate to the divine?,” the Dr. asks. “God brought me out of that,” replies Gibbs. “He brought me out of the whole situation, period,” he adds before referencing his Islamic faith. Trumpeting daily prayer and “keeping a personal relationship with God” as crucial elements to his healing process, Gibbs says his legal woes “made me step back and examine myself from a spiritual standpoint” (19:07). “I keep a copy of [Elijah Muhammad’s] Message to the Blackman in America in my car. I’m just feeding my brain and feeding my soul right now. I think it definitely needed to be nurtured. I’m gonna be bigger and better when I decide to regurgitate that information to the world.”
Freddie Gibbs’ latest project, the eight-track You Only Live 2wice, is available now. In what can be taken as proof that he is well on his way to emotional and spiritual recovery, he has announced that he will return to Europe later this year as an extension of his forthcoming tour.