In any hip-hop faction, strength is unquestionably defined in numbers. That’s why, as he preps for his sophomore release, Free at Last, Freeway has doubled his insurance policy with Jay-Z and 50 Cent both co–executive producing his forthcoming LP. Before enlisting the help of the game’s top bosses, Free shakes the dust of his mic for G-Unit Radio #19, his official album teaser with DJ Whoo Kid.
On the remake of T.I.’s braggadocious hit, “What You Know About Dat,” Freeweezy puts an end to the State Property rumors (“When I chirp, Sigel chirp back”) and breaks down his new situation (“I am keeping it Roc/But still move with Unit/I am moving the units/But still moving the rock”).
Feeding off of Mannie Fresh’s playfully produced bounce, the bearded MC turns “the block into a parking lot” with the help of Juvenile on “You’s a Hoe.” On the antisnitching PSA “I Never Testified” Free performs a full-time jack of the “Touch the Sky” instrumental, and repeatedly vows, “That’s right, I never testified, even if the judge gave me an extra dime, I’m gonna do that time, nigga.”
As the sole proprietor of his promotional material, Freeway is solely responsible for the positives and negatives of this project. So he’ll be blamed for the lack of replay value of generic cuts like “Trap Boy” featuring Jody Breeze and “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Me,” which are both dull at best. Furthermore, his reunion with the head of the Chain Gang, Beanie Sigel, on “Philly Niggas” and Peedi Peedi’s botched attempt to exude brotherly love on “Hood on Froze” lack the luster of past collaborations.
Mr. 1-900-Hustler sounds much less inspired here than in the past. That’s why it makes sense that he’d call in backup for his next album. Hopefully, with the proper guidance, Free will rock the mic right.—BRIAN MILLER