FEATURE: Freeway, Last Man Standing

Aftershocks from the earthquake that was the break-up of the almighty Roc-a-Fella Records are still reverberating throughout hip-hop. Just ask Beanie Sigel, who a week and a half ago took out his frustration towards Jay-Z in public, unleashing a vicious diss track called “What You Talking Bout.” But not all former Roc artists feel the same way. In fact, Freeway, who still refers to Jay as the “big homie,” says there’s no love lost. Still, everything isn’t exactly smooth sailing for Philly Freezer.

Freeway recently found himself caught up in beef of his own involving the forthcoming release of The Streetz Is Mine, an album of new material RBC Records is set to put out. Although RBC representatives say the rapper approved the project, allegedly going so far as picking songs for the disc, Free refutes that claim saying he never sanctioned the LP’s release. Instead, all of his focus is on his Jake One-produced The Stimulus Package, which will be distributed by indie powerhouse Rhymesayers. XXLMag.com caught up with Freeway to chop it up about the ongoing sour grapes between former Roc-a-Fella artists, his forthcoming projects and rumors of a possible deal with Cash Money Records.

XXLMag.com: Being from Philly, one would imagine you and Beans are pretty close. How did his Jay-Z diss track affect your relationship with him and Jay?

Freeway: Oh, no, that’s the big homie and it’s still all love with Jay-Z. We still communicate. When I need him, I definitely can reach out and I know he will be there for me. Right now, I’m just trying to do my thing, show that I can do my thing on my own without him. But when I need him, I think the big homie will definitely be there.

XXLMag.com: How are you applying what you have learned from Roc’s successful run to your current pursuits?

Freeway: You’ve got to work hard to get out of the game what you put into it. That’s why I’m steady grindin’. I’m always in the studio, dropping stuff on the Internet, making my Internet presence felt. I’m just grindin’, man.

XXLMag.com: Now, there have been rumors about you signing to Cash Money already. Is there any truth to that?

Freeway: It’s not official yet, but we’re working it out, probably at the top of the year after we drop The Stimulus Package. The whole album is produced by Jake One and it’s coming out on Rhymesayers Records. I got people from State Property on there, I got Beanie Sigel, I got Young Chris, Omilio Sparks, I got Baby from Cash Money on my second single, got Raekwon the Chef on that joint, and I got Bun B from UGK.

XXLMag.com: That’s quite a few unexpected combinations. How did you connect with Baby collaboration come about?

Freeway: I was in Miami at the Louis [Vuitton] store and ran into Baby there. We exchanged information and when I came back down, we knocked a song out. Now we’re working out a deal with Cash Money.

XXLMag.com: So how does the whole Rhymesayers situation fall into play?

Freeway: I thought the Rhymesayers would be a great project because they reach a fan base I haven’t attacked before. We had a bunch of shows, and we had the Soundset Festival in Minnesota, which attracted 20,000 fans. I killed that shit. They have good artists and me and Jake One work well together. I just thought it would be a good experience for me to try that. In the midst of me doing that, the Cash Money thing came about.

XXLMag.com: How did your relationship with Jake One start and turn into a full-length album?

Freeway: Actually, he was on my last album, Free At Last. I was really diggin’ his sound and after the album was done, he kept sending me music and we was working together. The stuff that was coming together was crazy, so we came up with the concept of doing The Stimulus Package album and made it happen.

XXLMag.com: A little while ago you put out some 30 songs within a month’s span. How did you come up with that idea?

Freeway: It was called the Month of Madness. Shout out to Young Chris, because he did 31 verses in 31 days. Since me and State Property members always had a friendly competition, once he did that, I said, I might as well do 31 songs in 31 days. I’m in the studio all the time and I felt at that point in my career, I thought it was beneficial to let the people know what I’m working on and the quality of music that’s coming out.

XXLMag.com: Can you clear up the situation with The Streetz Is Mine album that RBC is putting out?

Freeway: The Streetz Is Mine is not my album. I put a public service announcement out about that. That’s not an official album, I don’t got nothing to do with that joint. We put a cease and desist out on that joint, it won’t get released. There’s a whole bunch of bullshit going on behind that joint.

XXLMag.com: The PSA was also to promote your new mixtape, The Calm Before the Storm, right?

Freeway: The reason why I dropped that was because we actually pushed it back so we can go promote it at the same time as The Stimulus Package. Calm Before the Storm is just some joints I had laying around. I got nice features on there, Young Chris and Kurupt. It’s a bunch of joints that nobody heard before. Producers from Philly, the Dictators, contributed beats.

XXLMag.com: How strong are your working and personal relationships with members of State Property now?

Freeway: We all family. Beans is on the album, Young Chris, Omilio Sparks. It’s still all love. In the future, we’ll definitely do another State Property album. We just got to find a nice situation for it and we’ll make it happen. —Slav Kandyba

  • http://www.justice.gov.za GO-Getta’

    Free,dude never been the same since been Cassidy went over his head.
    Hell gifted but it’s that voice of his that makes me wonder if he can carry the whole album

    Freeway in Philadephia was crack but poorly marketed.Same with Beans/State Property,Ni99as should have hit plat by now & millioners but shady business manuvoures overshadowed everything.

    Since Nas drop “Ether” Roc never been the same.

    • CHEAA

      FREE AT LAST was a crazy album.. didnt get any promotion at all and now we prob see why with that whole beans situation.. but free def doesnt get enough credit for what he does.

    • http://www.spitboss.com KLAP215

      “FREE AT LAST” is crack also… don’t sleep!

  • http://xxlmag jb

    Freeway on Cash Money is a joke. He needs to try to get back with Kanye and Just Blaze. Philadelphia Freeway was damn near classic.

  • b-ease

    Free,dude never been the same since been Cassidy went over his head.
    Hell gifted but it’s that voice of his that makes me wonder if he can carry the whole album

    ^^
    *blank stare*

    Are you typing this from 2002? Free’s dropped two excellent solo LPs.

  • Mouse

    All I know is Freeway dont want no parts of Budden!

  • Bearer Of Gifts

    Freeway,U NEED SOME “SUBSTANCE”, IN YOUR LIFE: http://www.youtube.com/ihollaforreal#p/u,
    Freeway,U NEED SOME “SUBSTANCE”, IN YOUR LIFE: http://www.youtube.com/ihollaforreal#p/u,
    Freeway,U NEED SOME “SUBSTANCE”, IN YOUR LIFE: http://www.youtube.com/ihollaforreal#p/u,
    Freeway,U NEED SOME “SUBSTANCE”, IN YOUR LIFE: http://www.youtube.com/ihollaforreal#p/u,

  • Fireforreal

    Fuck what the haters say. Freeway is taking the man approach by not playing the blame game like so many rappers do when they leave the majors. Freeway did 31 songs in 31 days ? I respect that he still works hard and still considers Jay his friend and has love for what he learned.

  • roc4lifenucka

    i copped that streetz is mine last night. flames.

  • Keyboard K

    Free might be one of the most underrated cats doing it. Philadelphia Freeway was fire. Free At Last was fire.

    Looking forward to the next one….

  • Sleepy Wonder

    “I’m just trying to do my thing, show that I can do my thing on my own without him”

    Take Notes Beans

  • MTL

    “life is a struggle, you born alone and die alone/and between life pages you get your grind on/im from where you never snitch but do the time for it/nigga try to play you, you bring the 9 for him/ride on him”

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  • HipHopFive15

    Didnt even read the article, I just came here to hate. Free is wack. Literally one of the only rappers outta Philly I’ve never been hyped on. Dudes style is just too, like, mad fucked up. Then he tries gettin on with some half rap half sing half sound like hes tryina spit spoken word, switchin the pitch of his voice every fuckin syllable soundin like he started rappin after he ran a marathon type shit. Calm down, Im just hatin.

  • MR. UNDI$PUTED THE MOGUL

    THE REASON FREEWAY ISN’T LIKE ALL THESE OTHER SUDDENLY TURN COATS IS THAT HE WAS SMART WITH HIS MONEY. I HEAR HE OWNS AT LEAST 2 BUSINESS’ IN PHILLY. THE CAR DETAILING SHOP HE OWNS MAKES BIG MONEY,SERVICING THE CARS FROM THE SPORTS PLAYERS THERE. WHAT I FIND IRONIC IS AS MUCH AS I’LL ALWAYS RESPECT BEANIE’S PAST MUSIC ETC. HOW SMART IS IT TO SIGN WITH A GUY WHO DOESN’T HAVE DISTRIBUTION FOR HIS OWN LABEL ALREADY. WHEN IS THAT NEXT OFFICIAL BANK$ CD COMING OUT?!

    PEACE & GET MONEY!!!
    MOGUL $$$ GAME ’09!!

  • double 0

    look at me my name is double-0 and i made a beat for freeway on free at last hey everybody

    • Maurice Miller

      Double o u r crazzzy! Keep rockin my ninja!

  • capcobra

    he just did a joint with my nigga slim in charlotte..shout out to cousin e and my north philly niguz..york.diamond.cumberland.lehigh.susquehanna..and shit like that..the roc undershipped that 1st free album..50 had just dropped and they thought niguz wasn’t checking for free..they was wrong as fuck..and free never complained about it..real nigga shit..stay up champ.

    • http://www.bboycult.com www.bboycult.com

      @capcobra

      whats good fam? North Philly is definitely in here! 3rd n Diamond, TUK all day! Fairhill n Somerset, Reese n Indy, it’s offiial! glad to know i aint the only one up in this bitch.

      and niggas don’t really know Free’s potential. i know hat dude from wayyy back. he has a whole other skill set that will desimate careers if he chose to use it. hopefully, he’ll make that choice soon.

  • http://www.spitboss.com KLAP215

    FREEWAY is one of the hardest working artists in the game…. he smart makin shore he don’t have 2 go back 2 the block… PHILLY WE IN HERE 7TH AND BERKS, 3RD AND NORRIS, KENSINGTON AND CLEARFIELD, G AND VENANGO PHILLY STAND UP… LETS RASIE THE KIDS RIGHT!

  • http://www.spitboss.com KLAP215

    FREEWAY is the hardest working artist in the game! FREEWAY stay makin that real hood music we can feel namean! 7th and Berks, 3rd and Norris, Kensington and Clearfield, G and Venango st the whole Philly…. sURRPOT ARE OWN!