Freddie Gibbs Credit: Scottie Cameron

After his 2007 development deal with Interscope dried up, Gary rapper Freddie Gibbs gathered the pieces of his career and built a new one. His trek since then has been unconventional; for nearly a decade he’s attracted a grassroots following, largely through a string of EPs, mixtapes, and full-lengths, many of which he’s released through his own ESGN imprint. His flow is fierce, and likewise his career has grown, blossoming in unexpected streaks. Gibbs has a strong grasp of his abilities and produces great volumes of material, and he’s maintained a hold on a fickle public with works that catch people off guard, such as his 2014 album-length collaboration with renowned producer Madlib, Piñata. But in June 2016, Gibbs was arrested in France in response to a rape allegation from August 2015. He spent almost four months in French and Austrian jails, until he was acquitted at the end of September. Since then, he’s maintained his innocence (he told Complex last year that a friend of his had originally been charged with the crime) while getting back to his routine of dropping new music. These days his release schedule is a trickle in comparison to his previous torrent; his first post-prison release, last year’s You Only Live 2wice, only has eight tracks. Gibbs recently hinted at the possibility of retiring after he and Madlib drop the sequel to Piñata, but he’s held off putting it out in favor of two other full-lengths: June’s Freddie (ESGN/Empire) and last month’s Fetti (Jet Life/ESGN/ALC/Empire). On the latter, a collaboration with prolific rapper Curren$y and producer the Alchemist, Gibbs’s rounded verses and chopper-style curveballs frequently lend an adrenaline boost.