Freeway Speaks On Fan Influence, Being "Guard Dog" Of The Roc

Exclusive: Philly Freezer told DX whether the fan-mail he reads on his album is real, learning from Brother Ali, and being a "Microphone Killa" again.

Earlier this week Rhymesayers Entertainment released Freeway's third album, The Stimulus Package, a collaborative project with Seattle producer Jake One. The union marks Freeway's first "official" independent album after two previous Def Jam efforts, and finds the North Philadelphia emcee marketed to fans who may not have previously considered the State Property/Roc-A-Fella disciple.

Fans are an important aspect of The Stimulus Package. On the album's outro, a fully-produced song, Freeway conceptualizes reading mail from his fans. Asked how much his fans affected the artistry of the album, Freeway answered DX slouched in a swivel chair in his personal Philadelphia studio. "I would say 90%," the emcee answered. "When you make music, you want it to be good. You're competing with a lot of other emcees, you're competing with your last project, and the fans play a big part in that. It makes you feel good when the fans love your music. The last album I put out, Free At Last, it didn't sell as well as I would have liked it to, but everywhere I go, people always say they love that album. That's a good feeling."

Like Nas' 2002 "Book Of Rhymes" concept track with The Alchemist, Freeway used something tangible to affect his stream of consciousness. The emcee was asked if the stories told on "The Stimulus Outro" were from actual correspondence. "Actually, I get fan-mail. When I did that song, that was a song that I did out in Seattle, so I didn't have none of the fan-mail with me. I was just reflecting on a couple of [previous letters I'd received]. I'd say it's 60% true," revealed Freezer.


Freeway also spoke on the new fans he may acquire strictly on the basis of releasing an album on the label run by Brent "Siddiq" Sayers and Atmosphere's Slug and Ant. "Rhymesayers Entertainment, Brother Ali, Jake One, it's like a whole 'nother world of fans than the fans that I'm used to. I'm used to the grimy nightclub scene, the [situations where] you gotta take the pistol with you to make sure everything's [good], nahmean? It's totally different."

The union began in 2008, when Jake One and Freeway made "The Truth" for his White Van Music, which also featured Brother Ali. The chemistry of the album single led to a video and performances. "I remember Ali came to Philly, and he did a show [at the First Uniterian Church] and he asked me to go hold him down. When I pulled up to the place, there was no cars, it looked like nothing was going on. I go in, and it was crazy!," recalls Free. "I also saw it when we went to South By Southwest and [Soundset] last year. They embraced me, the fans embraced me."

Overall though, the raspy-voiced rapper says he didn't alter the formula simply because he's working with an Underground Hip Hop mainstay. "I didn't really do nothin' different. I just did what I do."

When Freeway burst onto the Rap scene at the top of the decade, he was within the jacket of Roc-A-Fella Records, a movement that featured private-minded artists like Jay-Z and Cam'ron, a crew that often shielded themselves from fans. Freeway was asked how, between his label independence and the Internet age, his fan relationships have changed. "It changed a lot," he says. "I feel as though fans are important to Hip Hop. You know, who are you doing your music for?"

Another interest portion of The Stimulus Package is Freeway's respect for the craft of emceeing. While "Throw Your Hands Up" features De La Soul and Black Moon references, Free also has a song in "Microphone Killa," that pairs him with SP brother Young Chris. "The whole beginning of my career, that's what it was about," Freeway says about the spirited verse. "When I first went to rap for [Jay-Z], when [Beanie Sigel] took me up there, I had to get in my bag and go through my act. After I got signed and I would be up there. Anybody [else] that would come to rap for Jay, I'd be there, and Jay would give me a lil' head-nod, and I'd just go at them. It was like I was the guard dog or something."

30 Comments

  • ChaseV

    Sometimes I just can't even believe the shit I read on here. I sincerely hope that's someone fucking around. If these kids are really growing up believing that's what's hot (Diddy?! Wacka Flocka?!)...then things is even more fucked up than I thought. Diddy doesn't even WRITE RAPS, he BUYS THEM. Wacka Flocka is way better @ getting shot at than he is rapping. Soulja Boy is mostly for kids and girls. He makes catchy songs and dances for people who get off on that shit (kids and girls). I'll bump some Gucci if I'm really drunk or I need a good laugh (Burr!) but come on! There is nothing LYRICAL about that music. Top 5...come the fuck on....ridiculous

  • pocketspit

    hes ok but hes washed up. nobody be bangin freeway anymore. his only shit thats ok to bang is flipside. and jay fucked using him as the guard dog for battles. should of been beans. ow well another washed up rapper tryna come back wit some bullshit.

  • da police

    shit yo , i take back jay z and add soulja boy, yall hear his verse on that gucci mane song, he kills it. he really has stepped his game up.. and for yall hatin on me..... STEP OFFFF!!!!!!!!!!

    • f.l.i.p

      souljah boy is shit i mean straight up shit did u feel him on the snoop dogg track tht boy shud stop disrespecting hip hop

    • f.l.i.p

      souljah boy is shit i mean straight up shit did u feel him on the snoop dogg track tht boy shud stop disrespecting hip hop

  • ljabarr

    Top 5 dead or alive Biggie Smalls Nas Eminem Rakim Kool G Rap

  • dcb123

    BREAKING NEWS new music eminem feat 50 cent and lil wayne come listen now and download myspace.com/mroc303 or thisis50 will be putting it up soon. myspace.com/mroc303 g-unit a&r thisis50

  • won1

    1.wacka flocka 2.bow wow 3.gucci mane 4.asher roth 5.soulja boy Fuck everyone else top 5..these are the ones holdin it down with lyrical swag and they all got money,credit cards,mansions,jewelry,hoes,liquor,weed,gold teeth,etc..

    • Wynd

      I agree with you (WHAT?!?!) this kids teeny booper Top 5 list is Wack.....

    • What?!?!

      This dude is obviously 15 years old. Wacka Flocka....there is a reason that his name starts with WACK! Bow Wow, Gucci, Asher, and Soulja Boy? Are you kidding, man? Now, I like Asher from time to time. I mean he is a little witty although he is a bit of an Eminem rip off. F*ck top 5 lists! @HHFan....I am all for stopping wack rap! If you don't mind, I'm gonna use your Wacka Flocka reference

    • HHFAN

      lol Me and my brother started using Wocka Flocka as a code for wack shit. "That new Rhianna video was Wocka Flocka." "My boss making me work on Saturday. That's some wocka flocka shit!" "That new Wocka Flocka single was was wocka flocka." Spread the word and stop wack rap!

    • The Eyez

      Wow, bunch of obvious teen attention whores up in here posting some top five bullshit. I hope you get fucking instant carpel tunnel next time you decide to comment. You sound like a gold digger wit that "they all got money, credit cards, mansions, etc.." Fuck outta here. i hope your dad beats your ass tonight you kid.

    • ljabarr

      LOL! Came on dog Asher roth can spit. He shouldn't be in that group

  • www.212DIAMONDCITY.com

    What a joke this is, Top 5 dead or alive FINE DIAMOND JEWELRY AND WATCHES AT AFFORDABLE PRICES http://www.212diamondcity.com

  • Mr. E

    Seriously...? @ Da Police, How old are you & when did you start listening to Hip-Hop? OF ALL TIME? You name Gucci, & P. Diddy in your top 5??? GTFOH! 1. Biggie 2. EM 3. Jay-Z 4. Nas 5. PUN, Big L, PAC... I could name 20 more MC's to replace that terrible line-up. Peace

  • Mike Geminsky

    Jacctherapper has the best top 5 ive seen in a while. just would put big 1 and pun 2 ,J 3, Big L 4

  • Deebo Detroit

    Freeway a cool ass nigga

  • Boom Bye Yeah

    Philadelphia Freeway might have been the best debut album of 00s.

  • LOCOSLIFE

    Freeway always does his thing!!

  • peter cottonmouth

    I KNOW it's in the past but when Roc-a-fella signed State Property and Dip Set plus M.O.P., Kanye West and Just Blaze. They were the best label Dynasty EVER. Deathrow is close but..........We'll see Grand Hustle has 8ball & MJG, Killer Mike, B.O.B., T.I. and more.

  • da police

    freeway might be the greatest lyricist of our century. his flows an venacular are unmatchable. this new cd he droppin in a 5 mic, no question one of the top 5 alltime. my top five mc's yes mc's u suckers 1jay z 2 p diddy 3 ghostface killa 4 gucci mane 5 freeway, runner up oj da juiceman

    • Wynd

      Yo this dude just SLAPPED Hip Hop is the face....This is why Hip Hop is dying with people like you disrespecting game; replacing a Great with HUH and then putting guccie mane in the top 5. Yo is you Crazy!!!!! Step you're HIP HOP game up.

    • ljabarr

      WOW.......That's all I can say about that!!!

    • 1naTrillion

      This dude put Diddy and Gucci in his top 5 all time with OJ as his runner up? LMAO this has got to be a fuckin joke son. Nas, Em, Lupe kill all these cats Then Police comes through and punts Ghost for Wacka? WTF are you talking about? Cosignin Project and Jacc

    • Project

      lmao...dude replaces Ghostface with Wacka Flacka Flame!?! Bizarre...

    • JACCTHARAPPER

      yo are you fuckin retatrded?gucci mane? p diddy?yo how old are you like 10? number 1 jay z .2biggie.3.pac4.pun5.big L

    • da police

      i take back ghostface and replace him wit wacka flacka flame, he is nice on the mic

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