Photo by Virgil Solis

Young Jeezy has signed up-and-coming lyricist Freddie Gibbs to his Atlanta-based Corporate Thug Entertainment imprint on Def Jam. Hailing from Gary, IN, Gibbs endured many intense battles with fate before arriving at this point in his career. Once a hopeful football player at Ball State University, his chances at an athletic career faded, and he returned to the hustling lifestyle of his past. Music became a part of Gibbs’ life shortly after, and he was eventually signed to Interscope but dropped before a single album was released.

Luckily, it seems that Gibbs has paid his dues. He has been on a steady rise in the rap world since the release of his 2010 EP, Str8 Killa. Gibbs was included in XXL’s Freshman Top 10 of 2010 and has also received recognition from Rolling Stone, NPR and the New Yorker in the last year. Performing a sound and style influenced by Tupac, Erykah Badu and his life in crack-era Gary, IN, Gibbs turned heads at this year’s SXSW Music Festival in Austin, TX. We’ll certainly be seeing more of Gibbs in the next few years, starting with the release of his upcoming mixtape, A Cold Day In Hell, due this summer.

Watch our interview with Gibbs below.