It's a big deal, because with Jeezy's backing the Gary, Ind.-raised, L.A.-based Gibbs won't remain the best MC you've never heard of for long — and because Gibbs was once signed to, and then dropped from, Interscope Records, amid rumors he had roughed up label representatives, which is the sort of thing that typically makes another major label deal hard to come by.
Gibbs released several promising mixtapes on his own, including last year's great "Str8 Killa No Filla." Thanks to his deal with Jeezy (which doesn't include a deal with Def Jam, CTE's sometime distributor) the following things will definitely happen: A secret album with a secret big-time producer (Gibbs doesn't want to say anything more), and the release of his long-awaited official debut, "The Babyfaced Killa," which he's still working on. Things that will probably happen: A collaboration with Jeezy, possibly a full project’s worth.
Gibbs, who plays the U Street Music Hall on April 24, broke things down for Click Track.
How did this new deal come about?
It was kind of like a mutual thing between me and Young Jeezy….This is something we'd been talking about for months, we'd been trying to make it the correct situation. I [had to be sure] I'm in the right situation, the situation I want to be in, with people I trust.
You've been on your own a long time. Does it feel like being in a relationship again, after being single?
Yeah. Everything I'm doing right now, it's gonna take me to the next level. To have that type of person in your corner, that's priceless.
You've been an underground sensation for a while now. Did you feel like you needed someone else to help you get to that next level?
I'm the king of the underground, I think….I want to go to the next level. I want more money, more perks [laughs]. I know the type of [sound] that I have is not just strictly for the underground. It should be for the masses. I don't think anybody raps better than me right now. I'm at a point in my career where I'm evolving and progressing to the point where I want to be at to solidify my region as a whole. I don't think nobody is really representing gangsta rap from the Midwest. You've got Kanye and Common, but from the street side of things, I don’t think that we've been well represented, so that's what I bring to the table.
What will CTE do for you?
Jeezy's name alone helps me get to where I'm going. I'm going to keep doing the same thing I'm doing, but this makes it even bigger. My partnering with him makes it even more colossal. I'm messing with a dude that I got utmost respect for….I still got a whole lot to learn in this game, you know what I mean? I just want to keep progressing.
When you were on Interscope, you hadn't been very fond of them, or them of you. Do you think other labels were afraid to partner up with you?
Yeah…When you get dropped from a major, it's like one of the worst things that's gonna happen to you. It's like you've got a taint. It's gonna be very extremely hard to get a major deal because majors look at you like, okay if that major label couldn’t do anything with him, with all their resources, what do you think we can do? I had that stigma on me. People would write stories about me, and [labels] wouldn't want to mess with me, because they think I'm a dangerous guy…I'm actually one of the easiest guys to get along with, I'm just not with the baloney, I'm not with the phony stuff. But me not rapping all my life-the [Interscope deal happened during] my first or second year rapping so I didn't know the politics of the industry, how those people acted. I'm like fresh off the corner selling coke. So I'm used to a whole different set of rules and politics. Coming into this industry, it shocked me. I didn't know how to react, so I reacted the same way I would react on the streets. It took some growing up, some maturing on my part.
What percentage of those stories about you were actually true?
Maybe 100 percent [laughs]. But I didn't never do anything crazy. I just fought for my respect, that's all.