Freedie Gibbs is from Gary, Indiana — home of Michael Jackson, yes — but also the city with the highest black American population in the United States. Gary has been in a recession for decades, a period of decline that began in the late 1960s when many other US urban centers experienced riots/uprising. With the instability of the late ’60s, white flight, eroded tax-bases, etc. comes joblessness, crime, drugs, and even more recently the flight of middle class and affluent blacks. Needless to say, with the current/recent economic downturn, the city’s problems only got a little worse; the recession hit amid plans for rebound/redevelopment. Gary has an interesting history as a company town. It was founded just over a hundred years ago by United States Steel Corporation, and the city’s fortune was tied to the company and the steel industry. Alright, this is where Freedie Gibbs is coming from, and he paints a powerful and intense picture, demonstrating the emotional and social effects that a city/community suffers due to such prolonged decline. His mixtape is not all poverty and hopelessness, though poverty is the best motivation in the world. According to Gibbs, “Poverty causes violence. Point blank. This is an illustration of that,” remarking on one of the tracks on the mixtape. This is aggressive, brash, fresh, raw, vital music.
“County Bounce” is grappling with some heavy issues, nevertheless the mellowness of the song presents a weightless vibe. Get the mixtape now! The Smoking Section has a track by track breakdown of the mixtape album from Gibbs himself. Also check Cocaine Blunts LOCAL PRODUCT series. The first installation features Gibbs highlighting some bright moments in Gary, Indiana’s mid to late 1990s rap scene.
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