“Both of those guys are a blessing to the game.”
By now, Freddie Gibbs‘ interview with Bootleg Kev may very well be known as the incidental spark to the hopefully unending cancellation of Complex personality, DJ Akademiks. But the bulk of the chat comprises hot-takes on current basketball and rap royalty and side-by-side analysis of working with two of hip-hop’s most revered producers.
Though it was hard to pry him out of hoop talk — weighing in on the Jordan vs. James debate and putting forth his own analysis of the NBA’s all-time scoring greats — Gibbs eventually pivoted focus to his own sport and the supporting cast of producers that have tested his ability. As the only rapper on record to release projects produced entirely by Madlib (Bandana) and Alchemist (Alfredo,) respectively, in a calendar year, the Gibbs spoke to his relationship with the legendary loopers. “Both of these motherfuckers are top echelon producers,” Gibbs says. He adds, “My rapping skill got better from going to rap school with these two guys. They made me a better rapper.” Gibbs goes on to describe the trio as a family, looking up to them as guiding influences in his ascension.
Before moving on to more topical issues (snitching a la 6ix9ine, Griselda’s unlikely come-up, upcoming acting gigs, and more,) Kev, of course, bridges the gap between the sports, asking Gibbs for a list of (living) MCs to accompany him in a starting five. The Gary, IN rapper quickly assembles his rap game avengers, naming Kendrick Lamar, Pusha T, Drake, and Black Thought, to the squad with Killer Mike and Benny The Butcher appointed as honorary sixth men.
Elsewhere in the chat, Gibbs discusses his relationships with NBA and rap vets, abandoning a label deal, and, as many of you know, the take on Jeezy’s album that sent Akademiks into a (very enjoyable) tailspin.
You can watch Freddie Gibbs’ full interview with Bootleg Kev above. Alfredo, his new album with Alchemist, is out now via ESGN/ALC/EMPIRE.