Album Preview: Freddie Gibbs – ‘Str8 Killa’

Walking into Pull, a super chill spot in New York City similar to a spacious studio apartment, Freddie Gibbs appears like a chameleon among reporters. But once the black-and-white checkered shirt-wearing wordsmith takes part in a heated discussion on the happenings of rapper DMX, his quell demeanor kicks up a notch. In person his tone may seem a bit subdued, yet his records portray a sound that is anything but.

The Gary, Indiana native has sat in the spotlight after releasing two mixtapes—The Miseducation of Freddie Gibbs and Midwestgangstaboxframe-cadillacmuzik—last year, which featured his gangsta rap-style and smooth behind-the-beat flow worthy of UGK and OutKast fame. Next up, Gibbs will infiltrate the market with a double release this summer. Str8 Killa No Filla, his first mixtape of the year, is a collection of over 20 tracks and features production by Speakerbomb and DJ Burn One. Yet it’s his August 3 release of the Str8 Killa EP—an eight-song compilation featuring production from the likes of Beatnick & K-Salaam and appearances by Bun B—that demonstrates why the rapper became one of the chosen few in the first place.

Check out’s track-by-track preview of the Str8 Killa EP and three songs off the Str8 Killa No Filla mixtape.

1. “Str8 Killa No Filla” featuring Big Kill
Produced by Block Beattaz

Note: There are no artificial colors or flavors in the making of this title track. Mr. Gibbs boasts about getting his proper dues. With a Southern twang over a swing-your-hips beat, the rapper promotes not being a pushover.

2. “Rep 2 Tha Fullest” featuring Jay Rock
Produced by DJ Burn One & B-Flat Trax

Knowing any given moment could be the last hasn’t exactly gotten Gibbs and Jay down. Instead, they seize the moments that make up life and rep 24/7. “Like a hieroglyph… [I] can die any day” is heard over a thumping beat.

3. “National Anthem (Fuck the World)”
Produced by L.A. Riot Music (Josh the Goon & Speakerbomb)

This intense production simmers on what could be a new-age version of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Gibbs gives the proverbial three cheers for his haters on the track, touching upon the struggle that he has had to go through on his way up.

4. “The Coldest” featuring B.J. the Chicago Kid
Produced by Kno

The crooning hook is the sweet surrender of B.J. the Chicago Kid, who supports Gibbs as he puts on one of his many different rap flows. Let this song be an AC for those without central air. “It’s getting really cold out there, so let me talk my shit,” Gibbs raps.

5. “Personal OG”
Produced by Block Beattaz

Over an intro of hollow maze sound effects, Freddie’s flow is like a Cadillac with hydraulics bumping on every beat. This is a song for the smokers, but in no way is it psychedelic or trippy. Gibbs smokes away the uncertainties of existence, and the song allows for a slightly sedated, retarded beat.

6. “Live by the Game”
Produced by Block Beattaz

This beat is full of life, but again therein lies the uncertainty of thug life. “I was so self-destructive I had to resort to hustling,” Gibbs reveals, praying that his baby brother doesn’t follow in his footsteps while on the road to redemption. Freddie plays with the fire of a self-fulfilling prophecy here, yet in his craft lies his great escape.

7. “Rock Bottom” featuring Bun B
Produced by Beatnick & K-Salaam

Woe is Freddie Gibbs! He begins the track by touching upon alcoholism and drug use to soothe the pain. Gibbs portrays the stomach pangs of a hungry man who can’t feed his family. “If I could feed myself, I would feed you.” Bun B contemplates rapping as a ticket out, and complains about bills and tailgating authorities.

8. “Oil Money” featuring Chuck Inglish, Chip Tha Ripper, Bun B, & Dan Auerbach
Produced by Blended Babies

A roster of talented hustlers make for an upbeat ending to the EP. Chuck English is up to bat first, joking, “If it’s too hot then put your hands up like Joe Montana.” Chip Tha Ripper has the mentality of a stoner, skipping around different subjects like leaving his wallet in his car, but everything to him is “copasetic” because of his good credit and his even better relationship life. “I fired up the kid like I got fired on my day off,” spits Freddie, while Bun B slides in his two cents. All of this happens over a bass-bumping beat and a redemptive organ. So says Dan Auerbach on the hook, “This is a lullaby not intended to make you cry, and in this lullaby you’ve got to do right before you die.”

Str8 Killa No Filla Mixtape

1. “PSA (Pu**y So Amazing)”
Produced by DJ Burn One

Freddie Gibbs and his version of a love song is the PSA heard ’round the world. While females can feel proud, thankful, and even validated that their bedroom prowess hasn’t fallen upon deaf ears, guys can step up and return the favor, perhaps by staying true to their one and only.

2. “Best Friend”
Produced by Speakerbomb

So we’ve spoken too soon on the monogamy part. This song is about cheating with a girl’s best friend, and leaving sloppy tracks all over the place. One thing’s for sure, Gibbs doesn’t seem like he cares too much about getting caught.

3. “Slinging Rocks”
Produced By Speakerbomb

If Kanye can hold a note, Freddie can hold a song! Over a cover of 1987’s “Rock Steady” by The Whispers, Freddie, sans Auto-Tune, purposely poses like a singer from Hanson going through voice changes, but solidly gives the group a run for their money. The song was created in jest, but the laughable and likeable quality is strong.

–Tanya Remekie