Freddie Gibbs has the privilege of being able to define the sound of his hometown of Gary, Indiana. For instance, while we have an understanding of the stylistic tendencies of East Coast and West Coast rap, what do we really know about the middle-of-the-Midwest flavor? Over three albums, including last year's Shadow of a Doubt, Gibbs is vying to be the answer. Gibbs' focus is expressing his life experience and the Gary story - and he does it with a versatility and authenticity that few rappers have.

Freddie Gibbs has the privilege of being able to define the sound of his hometown of Gary, Indiana. For instance, while we have an understanding of the stylistic tendencies of East Coast and West Coast rap, what do we really know about the middle-of-the-Midwest flavor? Over three albums, including last year's Shadow of a Doubt, Gibbs is vying to be the answer. Gibbs' focus is expressing his life experience and the Gary story - and he does it with a versatility and authenticity that few rappers have.

Gibbs is a gangsta rapper through-and-through, but on Shadow he continues to elevate his artistry alongside discussing his street struggles. He's flexible, to say the least: from the smoothness of "F***in' up the Count" to the trap bits in "Narcos," this dude dabbles in simply what sounds good as opposed to conforming to a singular sound. Not to mention the diverse crowd he teams up with, including the likes of Black Thought and Gucci. It's equal parts bizarre and felicitous that his breakout album to this point was 2014's Piñata, a collaboration he did with producer Madlib.

For an artist that has yet to really break into the pop realm, Gibbs has churned out tons of jams - without ever wavering on the big picture.