I have a PHP site I moved to Dreamhost and it uses the PHP 'imagettfbbox()' call which required gd and freetype.
I have my own php build running as a cgi so I can do my own php.ini file etc and I even re-built my php build w/ freetype support.
I figured it out... I added:
--enable-gd-native-ttf \--with-ttf \
to the config options and did a make clean before my build