John's Track of the Week: Freddie Gibbs's "Crushin' Feelins"

Song: Crushin' Feelins
Artist: Freddie Gibbs
Album: Str8 Killa No Filla
Rating: 9.0

The young rapper Freddie Gibbs may have grown up in Indiana, but in the time he's been in his new home of Southern California, he's already managed to adopt a good deal of west coast hip-hop style. Add in dashes of both a southwest flow, and his own unique midwestern style, and you're left with Gibbs, currently a bit of a traveling soul of hip-hop at the moment. Without a label (he was dropped by Interscope before releasing anything), he's been relegated to rap limbo-- putting out free internet mixtapes. Still, his moment looks like it's just on the horizon.

Amidst a diverse mix of influences, you can still pick out the remnants of various titans of hip-hop within Gibbs's mostly gangsta repertoire. On "Crushin' Feelins," you can easily hear echoes of 2Pac's legendary social commentary, along with a smooth, pop flow similar to that of OutKast's Big Boi. Behind Gibbs's active and engaging rapping style, is an equally animated background beat. The playful, yet industrial sampling alludes more to 90s rap than the current scene-- something that actually adds to his budding appeal. Hopefully we'll be hearing much more of Gibbs, both on his upcoming mixtape Str8 Killa No Filla, and his supposed debut album The Devil's Palace, in the coming months.

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