During an interview with Vlad TV, Philly rapper Cassidy spoke on the ways in which his battle with Freeway years ago impacted the state of battle rap. According to Cassidy, his battle with the former Roc-A-Fella Records artist happened at a time prior to social media and was one of the first videotaped battles to reach a large amount of people.
The Philadelphia, Pennsylvania lyricist later added that his style of rap influenced others to change their own style.
“I felt like the battle I had with Freeway was like the start of this new battle wave that they got,” Cassidy said. “Making battles popular. Like back in the day it was before the social media sites. Before people was really catching footage of it. They was just battling in the street. In clubs going at it. So, people that was there knew about it, but it was hard for the whole world to see. The new way of rapping like piecing up multiple syllables. Saying more bars. That’s what changed rap. I think I’m responsible for that…I started that wave and I made people wanna switch up they whole style of rap. Whether people give me credit for it or not. So, by me setting that wave and battling another person like Jay Z and them had Free. I was down with the Ruff Ryders and Swizz. So, for two artists to be a part of a big camp to do that and the footage be caught. It was like a big thing. That was before all these battle leagues started…I’m happy that’s growing and that it’s getting bigger and bigger every day.”
Cassidy later detailed the moments that led up to his battle with Freeway. According to the rapper, he was in the studio with Jay Z and Swizz Beatz when Jay began to diss him following his appearance on a New York City radio station with his Roc-A-Fella artists.
Cassidy says the Brooklyn lyricist doubted him due to his age and size and revealed that at the end of his battle with Freeway he gained Jay Z’s respect.
“Well, it was just me, him, and Swizz in the studio,” he said. “The Mary J. Blige session. Swizz did the beat. Hov was rapping on it. They wanted to update the song. So, it was me, Swizz, and Jay Z in the studio. After they just got off Hot 97 cyphering and all that. So, Swizz introduced me as like the hottest nigga in the street. Hov like ‘What? You ain’t just hear my niggas on the radio? I got the hottest niggas. What is you talking about?’ Then he looking at me. ‘Nigga, you don’t even look big enough for Beans. You don’t look old enough for Free. What you want me to put you up against Chris, my 16-year-old?’ And he started talking crazy. And at the time, this before I was polished in the industry. I was right from the street. So, I was a little more hot-headed…I was getting a little aggravated. Swizz seen it. So, I’m like ‘Nigga, I don’t give a fuck who you call. You can call all them niggas. I’ll crush any of them niggas. I don’t give a fuck who you call.’
“Freeway was the last person that I think they would pick,” he added. “Cause I know Free’s style…I wasn’t even really turning all the way up the whole battle. Until like the end. The last round…He [Jay Z] had respect for me after that.”
Cassidy's interview with Vlad TV can be found below.