Freeway: Let’s Get Free

It is somewhat ironic that Freeway, Roc-A-Fella Record’s star pupil and 50 Cent’s latest protégé, has disappeared from the limelight since his 2003 debut, Philadelphia Freeway. A Sunni Muslim convert and self-proclaimed rock fan, despite the North Philly MC’s strong fanbase his career has been basically on hold. After the break-up of Roc-A-Fella Record’s founders, […]

It is somewhat ironic that Freeway, Roc-A-Fella Record’s star pupil and 50 Cent’s latest protégé, has disappeared from the limelight since his 2003 debut, Philadelphia Freeway. A Sunni Muslim convert and self-proclaimed rock fan, despite the North Philly MC’s strong fanbase his career has been basically on hold. After the break-up of Roc-A-Fella Record’s founders, Jay-Z and Dame Dash, and the public disputes between his fellow State Property members, many, including Freeway himself, have wondered if we would ever hear another release from this raspy-voiced emcee again. Teaming up with the Hip-Hop equivalent to royalty, Def Jam’s Jay-Z and G-Unit/Interscope’s own 50 Cent, as executive producers for his long-awaited sophomore release, Free At Last, Freeway’s self-assurance can only be matched by his devotion to his Muslim religion. With an obvious conflict between creating music and his strict religious teachings, it took a trip of self-discovery to bring this introspective rapper back to Hip-Hop’s forefront with a new energy and focus. With the first single “Big Spender” featuring Jay-Z, beginning to ascend radio charts, Freeway isn’t take his newfound freedom for granted. You’ve been out of the scene for a little while now. We’ve been hearing rumors that you’ve been on a trip of self-discovery…WATCH VIDEO Freeway: I took a trip to Makkah [Mecca]. As y’all know, if y’all don’t know, I’m informing ya right now that I’m Muslim. I took a trip to Makkah. I took my Umrah, it’s a pilgrimage. I stayed out there for a month. I went to Madinah first. then I went to Makkah and did all the things that’s required of the Umrah and it just was a good experience. Like a beautiful experience, it really brought me back down to earth where I need to be. It’s like no matter who you are, if you a millionaire, if you a king, if you a bum, a cripple, whatever you are, everybody comes together as one and worships one God. It just was beautiful, just to experience it first-hand.. I knew about it, but just to experience it was a good thing for How did that help you make your decision to come back to music?Freeway: I mean, actually when I first came back from over there I wasn’t even gonna rap no more, cause music is one of the things that’s Haram. Haram means it’s unlawful, as far as the religion.. So, I wasn’t even gonna do it, but I do it so good and that’s how I feed my family. You know what I’m saying? And I got love for it. So, like the song I got, ‘Even though what we do is wrong..’, I still gotta do what I gotta do with God in my intentions and in my heart. You know? Do you ever feel a conflict between your religion and making music?Freeway: I mean, its definitely a conflict, because I’m not supposed to be doin’ it, as far as my religion. You know what I’m sayin? But that’s something I gotta go through with inside myself, you know? That’s something I gotta deal with. Y’all don’t gotta worry about that. That’s on my You’ve been spotted down south a lot lately and you’ve recently worked with a variety southern artists.  Is that your way of building relationships and promoting yourself to a different market?Freeway: I mean it is what it is. Probably for the past year and a half, two years, I’ve been running through the south doing crazy shows. Every little town they got, all through North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Mississippi, I been everywhere. They been booking me to come through, so as I travel I’ve built relationships with people. Got connected with a couple artists from the south and its just a good thing. Good music is good music, no matter where it come from. It come from North, South, West coast, overseas, if its good music, its good music. There have been talks from other members of State Property, as far as relationships not being as strong as they used to be. Do you see yourself ever collaborating again with any of the other members of the group? WATCH VIDEO Freeway: Definitely. I’m still straight with everybody. I just talked to Sig.  Me, Chris and Neef real close. Me and Peedi Crakk real close. Me and Sparks cool. Oschino cool. It’s just a matter of us coming back together and making it happen. I’m dropping an album, Sigel, Young Chris, Peedi Crakk, then hopefully we can get the whole State Property album poppin. It’s just a matter of us actually getting together and sitting down to focus and all that. We know y’all need that too, so we gonna try and make that happen. This year Philadelphia had the highest murder rate in the entire country. What do you think is causing this? Freeway: I don’t even know, Man. I can’t even comment on it cause it’s so crazy and it affects me cause I’m right in the middle of it. Like right in the mix of it. I’m in the hood, you know what I’m sayin? I still got peoples that’s in the hood that I care about. So, I rather not even comment on that s###. We gotta do something about it, cause it’s getting out of hand. It’s crazy. What do you think you can do about it, given the platform that you have as an artist?Freeway: I mean, sh*t, there’s not really much I can do. I do as much as I can. Like I do the “Peace On The Streets” things in Philly, with Power 99 and everything. I talk on the panels and everything.’s probably something thing that’s gonna have to take a collective amount of people. It’s probably than me. Bigger than an individual. It’s gonna take more than me to take care of all that, cause it’s crazy right now. I think people now associate you with being a mainstream artist. Can you touch on your relationship to the underground?Freeway: Oh, I be in the underground everyday. Like the clubs that I perform at be the gutter clubs, be the hood clubs. Here-and-there I be at some glamorous clubs, but the majority of the time I be in the hood with the hood ni**as. That’s the underground.  I come in contact with underground artists all the time. Sometimes I might do a feature with ’em, if I’m feelin em, if I f*ck wit’ ’em. I started underground. I still consider myself apart of the underground, anyway, if people consider me mainstream. I mean, my album went gold, but I never really got the light I deserve to get and I’m g’on get it. That’s what we doing with this album. The track “Line Em Up” is considered a hood classic. Who were you speaking to when you wrote the lyrics?Freeway: I was just talking to everybody.  Whoever.. ‘Line em up/Shut em down’. Actually, I got that beat from Jay. Jay was gonna use the song, but he was like, ‘Free, I feel as though you’ll kill that joint’. So, he gave it to me and Young Chris got on that joint and we just did it. On the track “1-900-HUSTER” were you aware that it was a remake of The Convicts “1-900-DIAL-A-CROOK”?Freeway: I didn’t even know that. When I did that, I was fresh outta jail, prolly like two, three months. I was still on house arrest. I was in the crib.. [Beanie] Sig was calling me like, ‘Yo, I’m here, I’m there, I’m in Atlanta, I’m in Miami…when you get off house you gonna see.. I got you’. So, when I got off house arrest, he started taking me up in New York, f###### with Jay or whatever it is, doing The Dynasty album. He was like, ‘Yo, I think this [track] would be crazy for you’. They gave me the beat, took it home, wrote the verse, went back and laid that sh*t. You’ve kind of always had the delivery of a bull in a china shop. Tell us what kind of tracks you choose, maybe for the new album, where that unique sound really comes across?Freeway: The new album is incredible. I got a lot of songs on there with a lot of energy. I got this one joint that I got two special guests on, its called “Walk With Me”. I’m not even gonna tell you who the guests is, but when that sh*t hit the streets, it’s gonna be crazy. Trust me, it got that energy. The hoods is gonna be going wild when they hear it. “Walk With Me” produced by Don Cannon. Oh, so your not gonna tell us who’s on the album?Freeway: I mean, I don’t know if y’all know.. but the album is executive produced by Jay-Z and 50 Cent… which is big for Hip-Hop. So, both of them on the album, but as far as the other guests on the album, I’m gonna have to keep y’all on hold. Do you have tracks with both Jay-Z and 50 Cent on the new album?Freeway: Two different joints. But I’m not exactly all the way finished on em.. So, before I wrap up, I’m trying to get a joint with both of them together. I just gotta get them ni**as in the same room. How does Jay-Z’s and 50 Cent’s advice come into play, as far as being the executive producers on the album? WATCH VIDEO Freeway: Well, it’s just more of a motivation factor and a determination factor. Because me dealing with both of them and they both being such mainstream artists and such strong artists… it just makes me want to work harder, so I can be on a level that they’re on. Do you ever have disagreements with either of them on the direction of your music?Freeway: Well, basically, they let me do me and then when I’m finished I come to them and let them hear what I did. We’ve never had no major disagreements about anything, because basically it’s from me. But there’s a lot of songs. So narrowing down the album. I gotta clip a couple joints. So, Jay like, “You got a great album, but you can’t put all that on there.” So, that’s like the only discrepancies we got right now. We heard 50 is leaving Interscope Records… Freeway: I don’t know [nothing] about that. We also heard Jay-Z is leaving Def Jam.. Freeway: I don’t know nothing about that either. We just talking about what’s going on right now, this album. We just talk about the business that’s at hand right now. How did you link up with G-Unit in the first place?Freeway: Man, me and Fif been cool. He [said] he would try to help with my project, whatever he could do to help. You know what I’m saying? We came up with that idea and we made it happen. Got with Jay and made it happen. Jay was with it, Jay was like, ‘Let’s do it. Why not?’ What role do you think your affiliation with G-Unit will play in the promotion for your new album? Freeway: Couldn’t hurt. That’s two powerhouses.. Roc-A-Fella and G-Unit. So, good gotta come out of it. Did you get any support on the album from other G-Unit members besides 50?Freeway: [Laughs] I told you.. there you go, tryin to be slick. I told y’all.. y’all gonna have to wait on that. But I f*ck with everybody over there. So, we all good. You just gotta wait for the album As far as producers on the new album, can you speak on who you worked with?Freeway: I mean, as y’all know, I got Dame Grease on there,  he did the first single, “Roc-A-Fella  Billionaires”.  I went in with Bink!…um, I can’t even remember everybody on the joints. I was just working, just getting beats and knockin the songs out. I wasn’t even worried about who produced it and then I just took [it] from there. But I got some good production on that joint. What’s something you have going on that we might not know about?Freeway: I got a movie coming. We tryin to do the cross-promotion with the album and the movie. The name of the movie is “What We Do”. [ It’s named] after my single “What We Do Is Wrong”.  It’s directed, produced and written by “Tron” Anderson.. That’s the guy that did State Property 1 [film]. We’re trying to cross-promote with the album, so that it can come out around the same time as the album. So, we workin out the details now. I got a rim shop in Philly.. Philadelphia Freeway Custom Motor Sports on 60th and Woodland. I got my official website;, where you can get all the updates, and exclusive footage, exclusive music and everything from ya boy. What’s a message that you want to get across to your fans?Freeway: That I’m back. That I still got it. I still got that music that y’all love. That heart-felt music that y’all been feelin from the beginning. I just want people to feel me.