Freddie Gibbs Sheds Tears In A Deeply Emotional Interview With Madlib (Video)
Last month, Madlib and Freddie Gibbs released their second collaborative album, Bandana. It stands as one of the best albums of 2019 so far. Plenty has happened to the two artists since 2014’s Pinata, which also garnered its fair share of acclaim. Since then, the two veterans secured a major deal via Keep Cool/RCA Records. Both prolific artists have released plenty of product in the interim. However, Gibbs calls Bandana his best work to date. Meanwhile, Madlib acknowledges this collaborator as his “favorite rapper, dead or alive” of the moment.
Both Gibbs and Madlib appeared on Real Late With Peter Rosenberg. For HOT 97, it marks one of the only Madlib radio interviews to date—and only the second time the DJ/host has spoken to the Oxnard, California native. Meanwhile, Freddie Gibbs—who sheds tears during the conversation—credits the Real Late creator as one of his few media allies following tumultuous r*pe allegation in June of 2016 by two women in Austria. A September 2016 acquittal freed the father of two from a potential 10-year-sentence.
“I was gone for six months,” recalls Gibbs at 1:40. As Rosenberg alludes to similarities to A$AP Rocky’s ongoing detainment in Sweden, Freddie asserts that his situation is not the same. “My life was on the line.” The Gary, Indiana native elaborates, “I was sitting there like, ‘This is really what I’m about to go to prison for? Everything I’ve done, and I’m about to go to prison for this? [Something] that I didn’t even do. God, punish me for something else. Not this. I don’t want this on my name, at all.'” Gibbs admits that he is not surprised that his reputation did not suffer, despite the heinous allegations. “People know my character. The people that love me and the people that surround me, they know that I’m not that. I’m not gonna say it was easy, but it wasn’t difficult to get my name back right. All the women that I know know that I’m not like that. I got a mother [and] a daughter. So it was never anything to recover from that because it was totally not true.”
Freddie Gibbs elaborates on the situation, where he was arrested in France and extradited to Austria, where the alleged incidents took place. “To be locked up abroad, we had to get like 11 lawyers.” He credits manager Ben “Lambo” Lambert (who he also calls his “best friend”) for the dedicated aid.
The MC with a reputation for hard-nosed lyrics and a cold demeanor gets emotional on-air. At 16:00, he says, “That’s why I’m so emotional, dog. Just to even be here with you [compared to] three years ago, where I was at. That’s why I said that at the beginning: you was one of the only people supporting me, and I appreciate that. I know what I did to make this…I know what I did to make this project. It was a lot of nights—it was a lot of bad nights, a lot of rough nights.” Wearing sunglasses, Gibbs’ voice breaks, and he sniffles while recalling the genesis of Bandana. “There were a lot of things that I didn’t want to see—a lot of things that I still deal with mentally. This album right here, man, this album was a form of therapy. It was therapeutic. I said a lot of things on this record that I maybe, probably wouldn’t have said if I wasn’t facing 10 years in prison. That’s why this album is my baby, because it got me back to my babies.”
Unexpectedly, Madlib shows up at the 19:00 mark. At 10:00, Freddie Gibbs recalls Lambo (who was a former Stones Throw Records employee) introducing him to Madlib and business partner/manager Egon approximately 10 years ago. Gibbs admits that he was unfamiliar with the work of the producer/DJ/MC renowned for his work with Lootpack, J Dilla, and MF DOOM, among others. Since linking, Gibbs has immersed himself in the extensive catalog of his partner.
Upon entering the HOT 97 studio, Madlib and Freddie Gibbs have an emotional embrace. “I just do the music,” Madlib says when asked how many radio interviews he’s done in the last decade. Rosenberg asks Madlib to tell him about Gibbs. “My favorite rapper–my favorite rapper at the moment. Dead or alive, you nahmean?” The artist born Otis Jackson, Jr. says that he understood the two men could bond over music after first meeting. Moments later, Madlib speaks about the Keep Cool/RCA situation, suggesting that this opportunity allowed him to clear all of the samples used. Bandana features sources ranging from The Sylvers to Donny Hathaway, as well as Madlib’s signature deep digs for sounds. While Gibbs was new to Madlib, the latter says, “I knew his stuff,” of his rhyme partner. “When he was on the XXL cover and all that; I knew all that stuff.”
At 29:30, Rosenberg asks Gibbs if he had spent time with Madvillain, Madlib’s 2004 collaborative album, Madvillany, with DOOM. “Yeah, definitely; I tried to top that.” He adds, “I’m a competitive guy. I know DOOM can’t rap as good as me. At all.” Rosenberg and Madlib each laugh as Gibbs continues. “He can’t rap like this, fam. He made a great project.” Peter interjects, “That’s MF DOOM, bro. He’s an icon.” Gibbs responds, “I don’t care. I’m Caine Season, fam. Don’t compare me to nobody. I was like, ‘I can rap better than this dude, but can I make a better album than him?’ You know what I’m sayin’? So that was my focus.”
Pete asks if a DOOM and Gibbs collaboration exists. “We did a song together; he can’t see me. But it’s all good. We could do some more stuff though, if I can bring him out of retirement,” responds the MC. Last year, Gibbs and DOOM shared the microphone on DJ Muggs’ “Death Wish,” which became an animated video single. Rosenberg asks Madlib if he’s in communication with his Madvillain collaborator. “Not really,” he replies. “He hits me like once a year,” he adds, confirming that their correspondence is over email.
At 31:50, Gibbs and Madlib confirm the existence of the third album in their trilogy. A recent report by Entertainment Weekly said it would be called Montana. “The next one is crazy,” Gibbs says. Asked when it may drop, Gibbs says, “When the time is right. I feel like everything’s about timing. Like, we didn’t set a date for [Bandana], so we’re not gonna set a date for nothing. It’s just like when we get to a point where we feel like the game needs it, we give it to ’em.” Madlib simply adds, “Pretty much.” Gibbs calls Bandana “the best piece of music that I’ve did in my life, period…I think I rap better than I’ve ever rapped on this.”
Elsewhere in the conversation, Madlib credits Pete Rock (who attended the New York City Bandana party) as an influence. Specifically, he cites Pete’s digging and his beat interludes. He says that the two speak every other day. Notably, Madlib explains that he does not use a cellphone. He admits to having a home phone, where only a few select people can reach him. Otherwise, communication is done in-person and over email. “Email or Egon,” jokes Gibbs, referring to the partner, who briefly appears in the background.
Madlib also says that the Kardashian women were present when he collaborated with Kanye West for 2016’s “No More Parties In L.A.,” which featured Kendrick Lamar. Gibbs notes the beat was originally his. While Freddie calls his regional neighbor “one of the greatest of all-time,” he flexes that his subsequently-released version (“C*caine Parties In L.A.”) was better.
Madlib admits that he no longer listens to his catalog. After praising J Dilla’s work on Slum Village’s Fan-Tas-Tic, Vol. 1, he says that his favorite material from his JayLib collaborator are beat tapes that the general public does not have. He also says that his goal is to make “a bunch’a millions.”
Freddie Gibbs video interviews are available at AFH TV. We are currently offering free 30-day subscriptions.