Freddie Gibbs is an exceptional emcee and lyricist who has thrived in hip-hop since the 2000s. The Indiana act (real name Fredrick Tipton) is a Grammy-award-winning musician who has grown and evolved over the years with his music. However, he has a number of key influences that permeate his music. The rapper (who was initially signed to Interscope) is a product of Young Jeezy’s CTE World label, and following his success alongside Jeezy has, in many ways, superseded the Atlanta musician concerning his art and ability to curate a cohesive body of work.
In 2022, Tipton sat down with Pitchfork to discuss his childhood influences, career goals and how he sees in the context of contemporary hip-hop. Speaking with Dylan Green, the 41-year-old musician revealed his affinity for the 1990s and the wealth of music the decade produced.
Tipton highlighted New Jack City as one of his sources of inspiration. Delving into his opinions on the decade, Tipton stated, “Growing up in the ’90s was different. feel like the entertainment was better; it was more pure and less for clout-chasing and for clicks. I feel like motherfuckers were tryna make dope shit more than anything.”
Gibbs referenced many names from the ’90s that inspired him and cited acts from all over the US, including Scarface, Tupac and even Nelly as sources of influence. However, prior to his interest in hip-hop, the Indiana lyricist unveiled that he enjoyed the music of Michael Jackson. Elaborating on his love for Jackson’s music, the rapper unveiled, “At five years old, the world was Michael Jackson’s world. That’s all I really knew. And he was from where I’m from. He didn’t acknowledge that shit, though [laughs]. But seriously, it was motivation for me. ‘Bad’ is probably my favourite song off of Bad. And Wesley Snipes was in the video.”
Delving into the details of musical interests, Gibbs revealed that in the Midwest, particularly Indiana and Illinois, people loved Houston rapper Scarface explaining, “Where [I’m] from—Chicago, Gary, that area—Scarface is a god to us. He can’t do no wrong. He’s everybody’s favourite rapper from that era. You had uncles or older brothers? He was their favourite. The Untouchable is probably my favourite Scarface album. I think I skipped school to buy that shit—the CD and the tape!”
However, as well as Michael Jackson and the hip-hop flooding out of Houston, Tipton insisted that during the ’90s G-funk and California rap was big in Indiana, After revealing that his father was a fan of N.W.A and Ice Cube during the 1980s, Tipton explained that he preferred The Chronic, disclosing, “When Dre split from Eazy-E, the thing between him and Cube kinda died down. It was a real dynamic time in music. The West Coast had shit on lock for a minute in the early ’90s. ‘Let Me Ride’ is my favourite song. You could pick any song from The Chronic to be your favourite, but that’s probably my favourite.”