When news first surfaced in 2011 that Madlib would be collaborating with a single rapper for an entire album, a la ‘Madvillainy’, it came as a surprise that the artist in question was Gary, Indiana’s thug poet, Freddie Gibbs.
While Gibbs’ skill and talent was never in question, the two felt worlds apart. Madlib, The Beat Konducta, with his psychedelic sample-based production, versus Gibbs, rap’s last real gangsta rapper, spitting ruthless, nihilistic street tales.
The combination of Gibbs and Madlib traces back to Ben “Lambo” Lambert, the former’s co-manager, who was working at Stones Throw. He introduced the pair to each other’s music and soon Gibbs found himself the owner of eight beat CDs.
“He started sending me beat tapes and I was like, alright cool, I can f*ck with it,” Gibbs tells Clash. “But I wasn’t up on it before though, I’ma be honest. Once I got up on it I mastered it though, so to speak.”
In fact, other than the beat tapes sent for ‘Piñata’, the pair’s eventual collaborative LP, Gibbs avoided listening back to his partner’s previous work. When Clash catches up with him it’s the 10th anniversary of Madlib and DOOM’s cult classic ‘Madvillainy’, a record that Gibbs has only begun listening to recently.
“I didn’t listen to it when I was making mine, because I didn’t want no remnants of that record on my record,” he explains. “I ain’t want nobody to think that I was jocking that record in any type of way, because I wasn’t. I was trying to make something totally different. I was trying to make something better than that.”