Freeway: Ridin’ Again

Since Freeway blazed Jay-Z’s “1-900-Hustler,” he’s remained a sturdy fixture in Hip-Hop. Now the Philadelphia native son returns with Free At Last, his second album. His debut, Philadelphia Freeway was a mere appetizer and soul food Free has in store. The bearded rapper known for his upset delivery is a man of few words, but […]

Since Freeway blazed Jay-Z’s “1-900-Hustler,” he’s remained a sturdy fixture in Hip-Hop. Now the Philadelphia native son returns with Free At Last, his second album. His debut, Philadelphia Freeway was a mere appetizer and soul food Free has in store. The bearded rapper known for his upset delivery is a man of few words, but talks to about everything from moving to Saudi Arabia, to Beanie Sigel as State Property’s head, and everything in the middle. Give me one word to describe the direction you’re going in with this album.

Freeway: Soulful. What made you decide to go that way?

Free: Mmm, that’s how I was feelin’ ya know? It’s a good feelin. You gonna feel it. When you say “soulful” what do you mean? Do you have a lot of samples?

Free: I don’t have a lot of samples, no. It’s more of a feeling. Soulful to me is like when you hear it you feel it in your soul. You know it’s real. It came from my heart. Tell me about production, who’s supplying the beats?

Free: I got my man Just Blaze. I got Scott Storch, he did like three joints…my man Chad West from Philly, a couple people from Philly. Mannie Fresh did a couple joints, like two. Free at Last!. Speaking of Free at Last of Black political leaders. Recently Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam called together a Hip-Hop meeting of the minds in New York City and urged those in the room to come together and unify in Hip-Hop to help better the failing Black and Brown communities. Do you think that unity could ever be possible in the business we’re in?

Free: Not really. Unless something happened. Like somebody killed or something like that. Like somebody major then people might come together. Do you think there’s a necessity for it? Do you even give a damn?

Free: I mean…I care to a certain extent but- His reasoning is that it’s for the greater good of Black people, not just for Hip-Hop. But that Hip-Hop is at the forefront of Black and Brown communities so we need to take it in our hands.

Free: I mean I think it would be good if everybody came together. But I think people are gonna do what they wanna do anyway. I mean you can’t even get people to come together in a building. Look at Jay, Biggs, and Dame. They’re not even together no more. Did that surprise you?

Free: Yeah. How much did their conflict affect you in terms of the family that Roc-A-Fella had made?

Free: I mean, it f**ked my head a lil’ bit, but you know, you keep it moving… How do you like it over here at Def Jam?

Free: It’s a good place, ‘cause at Def Jam the whoooole building backs your project. You got the marketing and everybody else working with you. And I got Jay as the President and he’s gonna make sure everything is straight on the business end, so I can just fall back and be an artist – be the artist that I am. Describe the artist that you are.

Free: Gangsta. And I’m humble. And I’m from the streets. And I put the streets into my music. I’ma reality rapper, you know. I rap about things I see: things that go on around me and that’s what you get. What I see is what you get. What was the biggest change in inspiration for this album in comparison to Philadelphia Freeway?

Free: Well, as far as inspiration and everything I’ve seen more. I’ve been around the world a couple times ya know? I seen things and I’ve seen other people that’s really doin’ it so that influences me to wanna really do it you know what I’m sayin’? So on this new album were you pressured at all in this bigger label situation to go for a certain demographic?

Free: Nah I’m cool. I just do me. I might have a couple in my ear talking about do some songs for the ladies. But I got this one song with Sleepy Brown [since] they said I was too rough on the ladies. In terms of Jay, how much did he help you on this project?

Free: Well, I let him hear stuff and he’ll be like, “That’s it, that’s hot,” but we ain’t really down in the studio. But he’s there. I work and then I bring it back to him, he tell me what direction I should go him, like “You should do some of this or that.” Could you see yourself doin’ this forever?

Free: Well I don’t wanna be 55 relyin’ on a show. You gotta have something to fall back on. I mean I can’t rap forever. Why not?

Free: Because I’ma be too old. Why? Stevie Wonder’s still singing.

Free: It’s different. Why?

Free: Cause he’s singin’, and I’m rappin.’ Oh, rappin has an age limit?

Free: I mean, who wanna be like 40 rappin’ you know what I’m saying? So speaking about other avenues to fall back on tell me about State Property 2. Was it a good experience?

Free: Yea, and I definitely want to get some more movie money. I feel you on that. Did you enjoy your first hand at acting?

Free: Yea it was good. It was something different and I really enjoyed it. Do you think you could ever get to a point where Sam Jackson would want to be in a movie with you on the acting tip?

Free: Probably so, hopefully. You did State Property the movie, but tell me about you’re new situation. Not that you weren’t solo before, but at this point I feel like you came in with a team and right now it’s disbanded.

Free: I mean it’s still there, but I feel where you comin’ from being in the public on the outside lookin’ in. So can you clear it up from the outside.

Free: Everything’s straight. As far as State Property, everybody’s still cool with each other. It’s just the s**t with Dame and Jay and them. Is there any beef with Beans?

Free: Nah. So in terms of State Property, people on the outside are unsure of why there is no State Property anymore-

Free: Who said that?! Sparks, in an interview right here on

Free: He was probably high. There’s still a State Property, if I have anything to say about it. We just did a State Property show in Philly. When Dame is doing interviews saying that Beans has called for no more State Prop it’s very confusing. So when Beans comes out of jail, will the crew be back together?

Free: Yeah, we’re like Voltron. Ya’ll know, you gotta from the head, form the body, c’mon now. Have you gone to visit him?

Free: I ain’t go visit him. I talk to him, write him and stuff, but I ain’t go visit him. Why not?

Free: ‘Cause you need “the paper” to go visit him. I didn’t get “the paper” yet. Like everybody been rushin’ up there to go see, but I ain’t get the chance to “the paper” yet. Then they took his “visitors” away like five times so I gotta wait for his visitor’s to get reinstated, then I’ma try to get the paper and go and see him. But he about to come home in July. So how was it working with a different crew, on the Ice City project?

Free: It was cool. I did that for my homies. I basically let them do everything and then I came in and put some verses on some stuff and when they needed me I was there for them. So do you have a label situation of your own that you’re tryin’ to work out?

Free: In a minute. Right now I’m just concentrating on getting Free at Last out you know making that stamp, getting that platinum album that I need – that I should’ve gotten that first time around ya know? Then maybe I’ll start venturing into other things. So where do you see yourself in the next five years?

Free: Probably multi-platinum, with businesses, stuff like that. So it’s all based on money?

Free: I mean, basically. I mean, I love music. But the bottom line is, you gotta get your money, right? I got a family to take care of. I moved my family out the hood I gotta keep ‘em out the hood. Can’t go backwards like Rocky. You seen Rocky IV? Or was it Rocky V? He had to move back in the hood because his accountant took his money. What’s the hood like in Philly?

Free: In Philly we don’t have projects, we have row houses. They’re like lil’ matchboxes next each other and the blocks be [small] so if you got beef with somebody, you gonna see em. It’s not like New York where you can weave around. Nah, if you on the block with somebody you got beef with and they start shootin’, you gotta shoot back, so it’s tight. It’s worse than the projects. I’ve been blessed. Do you still follow the Muslim faith?

Free: Yea, I just took a trip to Saudi Arabia. Wow, how was that?

Free: It was beautiful. Everything, the people, just you know-I’ve been Muslim all my life and that’s like-in Islam there’s something called the Five Pillars of Islam and that’s one of the pillars. If you get the means to go Saudi Arabia then you’re supposed to do it because that’s where everything started at. It was beautiful ya know? The people were real hospitable. It was nice. You know Saudi Arabia is the number one resource for oil in the world.

Free: Yeah, they rich over there. I was at one of the prince’s castles. I’m tryin to get a house over there. ‘Cause you know what’s good? $100 is $373 over there so I’ll go there caked up. And then if you get a house over there, you own it. Like you probably could get something crazy for like $75,000 American money, and then you own it. Like you don’t have to pay no taxes or anything. No worries or nothing. It’s you. And in terms of moves you’re making what can we look out for?

Free: Aside from the album you can check for more movies cause I’m about to get some more scripts. If you ever come to Philly I got a business in Philly: Custom Motor Sports, I can pimp your ride for ya and I’m here. State Property, Roc-A-Fella, Free at Last July 19th, free Beanie Sigel!