Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: Freddie Gibbs

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Freddie Gibbs

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Photo:Jessse Thorn

Rapper Freddie Gibbs on Bandana, his new album with the legendary producer Madlib.

Before Freddie Gibbs ever dreamed of becoming a rapper, he was working at a shoe store in his hometown of Gary, Indiana. It's a rust belt town, an hour outside of Chicago. It also happens to be the home of Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5.

Gary's a rough place these days. Over the last 6 decades it's hemorrhaged residents, shut down schools, fought a growing crime rate and poverty. Freddie was, like a lot of kids at that time, faced with a future that seemed bleak, searching for an escape. His outlet was in athletics. He was quite good. But like a lot of kids in his neighborhood, he had a hard time staying out of the streets.

Music would become another escape hatch. Gibbs found out a couple of his friends had started making records, they even had a studio in town. So Freddie started hanging out there and pretty soon he wanted to be a part of it even though he wasn't exactly sure what that would look like. Would he become a producer? A DJ? Maybe a manager? Being an MC literally never occurred to him.

It wasn't until Freddie was a grown man that he learned he had a gift for rhyming, a sense of rhythm, and a voice that commands your attention. Freddie raps about the streets. About the time he spent there, about the friends he knows who still are. About the friends he lost. If there's a guiding theme in Gibbs' music - it's pain.

A few years back, his career took an interesting turn: he started collaborating with Madlib, a producer and MC from California. A guy who makes impressionistic, kind of strange beats known more for working with artsier, weirder MC's like MF Doom or Talib Kweli.

The result was Piñata, a record where two very different artists thrive in their own element. It probably shouldn't work, but it does. The music's strange, kind of beautiful. Freddie still raps about the streets. There's still that same pain there. It just hits you harder.

The pair have a new album called Bandana, and it's really great.

Freddie x Madlib BANDANA from Kenny Greene Jr on Vimeo.

Gibbs joins Bullseye and reflects on his upbringing, molding his rhyming style with Madlib's more eclectic beats, making music while on "daddy duty" and why he starts off every live show with a prayer backstage. He also talks to us about a very trying time in his life. Plus, Jesse and Gibbs talk Scarface. The rapper, not the 1980s Al Pacino remake.

Check out Freddie Gibbs on tour throughout Europe this fall.

Nobody Listens to Paula Poundstone Episode 37 - Say Hello to our Little Friends

Beth Helmstetter
Daniel Grimsland

It’s the second and final week of the Maximum Fun Pledge Drive, and we’re ever-closer to our self-decreed goal of 10,000 new members. Actually, we don’t know how close we are, but if we hit it, we’ll throw a party. And if we throw a party, it’ll be with the help of our guest, events planner Beth Helmstetter! Also, in preparation for the release of Tim Burton’s “Dumbo,” Paula and Adam review a related classic, Brian De Palma’s “Scarface!” We promise this makes sense. A little. Also, meet the first winner of our Hotel Soap Contest, and we find a whole class full of Nobodies listening to Paula Poundstone... in Sweden!

Beth Helmstetter
Owner, Beth Helmstetter Events
Instagram: @bethhelmstetter
Facebook: @bethhelmstetterevents
Twitter: @bethhelmstetter

House band
Daniel Grimsland, electric bass
Spotify: The Little Miss
The Grape And The Grain
Instagram: @danielgrimsland
Facebook: @danielgrimslandmusic

Bullseye with Jesse Thorn: David Wain and Belle and Sebastian's Stuart Murdoch

David Wain
Stuart Murdoch

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in Apple Podcasts or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

Photo: Jesse Thorn

David Wain on his new Netflix film "A Futile and Stupid Gesture"

David Wain got his first big break very early on in his life as a co-founder of the MTV sketch comedy show "The State." He then went on to direct "Role Models" and the cult classic "Wet Hot American Summer," but the transition from hit network television show to popular movie director was neither clear nor direct. For a long time after "The State," Wain was down on his luck - he didn't have another job and was not being asked to work on anything else. Wain tells Jesse about his time in therapy and how that helped him plan his next move toward filmmaking, which ultimately, led him to where he is today.

His latest Netflix movie "A Futile and Stupid Gesture," is about the successful, yet tragic life of Wain's own comedic hero Doug Kenney. Kenney founded The National Lampoon magazine and made the movies "Animal House" and "Caddyshack" - two movies that had huge impacts on fans of comedy everywhere, including Wain.

Click here to hear the interview on YouTube!

Photo: Kmeron via Flickr Creative Commons

Stuart Murdoch of Belle and Sebastian on his latest EPs "How to Solve Our Human Problems"

The last installment of indie pop band Belle and Sebastian's EP trilogy "How to Solve Our Human Problems" is out this week. Stuart Murdoch is the band's founder and lead vocalist. Belle and Sebastian's records are on hundreds of top 10 lists and their second album "If You're Feeling Sinister" is considered by many critics to be one of the best albums of the '90's.

Murdoch admits that when he was young becoming a musician was never part of his life plan. His path to founding Belle and Sebastian actually began with an illness. In the 1980's, Murdoch first discovered his continued struggle with chronic fatigue syndrome. He dropped out of college, spent a lot of time in the hospital, and moved back in with his parents. It was there in the quiet moments that he began to write tunes on his piano. On the suggestion of his doctor, he joined a class for unemployed musicians where he met Stuart David, Belle and Sebastian's co-founder.

Murdoch also talks with Jesse about his passion for baseball, why many of the songs in the latest EPs are ones your uncle would want to dance to at a wedding, and how his interest in Buddhism and meditation play a part in the overall concept of "How to Solve Our Human Problems."

Click here to hear the interview on YouTube!

Bob Levey / Stringer / Getty Images

The Outshot: Scarface

And finally, on the Outshot, Houston rapper Scarface has shaped his career by directly facing the trauma and consequences of gang violence, not just the desire for power and fear that fuel it.

Click here to hear the interview on YouTube!

Flipped it!


One great song. One great sample. Three fantastic songs.

From the intro of the beautiful "Be Real Black for Me" by Donny Hathaway and past Sound guest Roberta Flack came two of my favorite hip-hop tracks: first M.O.P.'s "World Famous," then Scarface's "My Block."

Donny Hathaway & Roberta Flack, "Be Real Black For Me" (1972)

M.O.P. "World Famous" (1996)

Scarface "My Block" (2002)

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