The hip-hop world is always changing. New rappers come and go every single day. Surviving in this game takes talent, hard work and connections. Just ask Philly rapper Freeway.
Freeway came into the game at the height of Jay-Z and Roc-A-Fella Records' success. State Property was a seven-man group from Philadelphia that gave Jay-Z the street credibility he needed and they took on all beefs without hesitation. Freeway said one of the best metaphors ever heard in a diss song against Jay-Z's former mentor Jaz-O: "You like the beer Cain dropped in 'Menace': 40 and Broke."
Freeway put out a few almost classic albums during his days at the label Jay-Z built, and then, followed with a few street albums. Today, he is back with one of the brightest up-and-coming producers in the game -- Jake One (50 Cent, G-unit, Mary J Blige) -- and a new machine behind him in indie powerhouse, Rhymesayers Entertainment.
In this recent sitdown with Freeway, the rapper spoke to us about his new effort alongside Jake One, titled The Stimulus Package, his new home at Rhymesayers, and how -- in all his years with the Roc -- he never saw Jay-Z with any goats or the devil.
BallerStatus.com: New album with Jake One is called The Stimulus Package...
Freeway: Yep, [it's out now]. It was completely produced by Jake One. Jake came out to Philly and I went out to Seattle, so we could get a feel for each other's cities.
BallerStatus.com: How did Seattle differ from your time in Philly?
Freeway: It's a lot more hills and it rains and snows a lot more in Seattle. If it snows, you better find something to do because you will probably be stuck inside.
BallerStatus.com: So the album came out with Rhymesayers?
Freeway: Yea, it's a small independent label, which is a little different than dealing with Def Jam and Roc-A-Fella. I think [Rhymesayers] are doing a real good job now in promoting the project and putting everything together. They know what's up and they are getting the word out. I am working hand in hand with them and I feel good about it.
BallerStatus.com: So this is like a whole new market for you. Have you done any songs with other Rhymesayers artists?
Freeway: Yea I did some stuff with Brother Ali before, but that's pretty much the only artist from the label I recorded with. We just connected because we are both Muslims.
BallerStatus.com: What's makes this album different then Philadelphia Freeway, your first album?
Freeway: Back then I was in a different space then I am now. Back then, I was just getting into the game, but my situation was still tough. This album just flowed real well and it's just a real good sounding album top to bottom.
BallerStatus.com: What was going on back then when your first album came out? You know, you linked up with Beanie Sigel who linked you with Jay-Z, then you're on "1-900 Hustler" ...
Freeway: A lot of excitement and crazy stuff was going on at that time. Coming from the streets to the studio with Jay and Dame and everyone was crazy. They say your first album is usually your best because you wait your whole life to put it out. The first album just had a lot of my life experience put into it. Man, I was just really hyped around that time just getting into the game.
BallerStatus.com: I recently heard the other day you and Beanie Sigel maybe putting some type of album or mixtape together? Is that correct?
Freeway: I mean, right now my main focus is The Stimulus Package. I have been recording and working, and promoting it for a minute now. Once this album is out and everything is done, then we might get something in. We are working on something, but this album is my focus right now.
BallerStatus.com: I think a video leaked the other day of your album cover for The Stimulus Package. It looks real dope how its like a stack of money straight out of the bank. Did you help design that at all?
Freeway: Yea that sh** is crazy. Rhymesayers is brilliant with the marketing. They put it together. The video and the cover was all them they good with it.
BallerStatus.com: I got to ask when you were around Jay-Z, did you see him hanging around the devil or chilling with goats or anything like that?
Freeway: Never man, never seen that. I was around Jay a lot and I never seen no stuff like that. I am a good judge of character because I am religious and I never got that vibe from him. I never saw anything like that at all.
BallerStatus.com: So it's just the Internet going wild right?
Freeway: Yea, I mean Jay answered that anyway. He denied all of that. I think it was on the radio in New York they asked him and he denied it.
BallerStatus.com: What is the craziest thing you have heard about yourself on the Internet?
Freeway: Yea one time I read that I was dead. The Internet is crazy. One person starts a rumor and everyone runs with it.
BallerStatus.com: I know you're on twitter (@phillyfreezer). Are you real big on the Internet?
Freeway: The Internet is the way to go today. I go on all of the sites that includes BallerStatus.com for sure.