My review in this Thursday's Inside Beat, shouts to everyone at RU!
Freeway - Free At Last
With luminaries like Jay-Z and Kanye West highlighting the Roc-A-Fella roster, Freeway’s ability is often overshadowed. While the Philly MC and Sunni Muslim might never be a megastar – blame his grizzly appearance or grainy voice – his vocal acrobatics and high level of intensity make Free At Last a sufficient fix for street rap addicts.
Released as the second album in Roc-A-Fella’s holiday sales push, the production is first-rate on Free At Last. Executive produced by moguls Jay-Z and 50 Cent, Free At Last features soulful loops and rugged street rhythms prepared specifically for Freeway’s animated rhymes.
“Spit That Shit” sports West Coast piano chords as Freeway addresses the haters with his staggered rhyme scheme and Miami rapper Rick Ross hops on “Lights Get Low,” a hyped-up anthem produced by Cool & Dre where Freeway explains his brief hiatus since 2003’s Philadelphia Freeway.
A forceful vocal sample provided by Bink drives Free’s trip down memory lane on “When They Remember” while “Baby Don’t Do It” featuring Southern heavyweight Scarface puts a new spin on an oldie.
It’s not easy to take Free At Last as a whole, though. The soft sing-song of 50 Cent and pristine J.R. Rotem instrumental on “Take It To The Top” plus Freeway’s easily-forgettable rants on “Nuttin’ On Me” among others could have been cut.
Now, Freeway admits he’s not the smartest rapper alive – recall his “slightly-retarded” self reference in Kanye’s “Two Words” – but he could put up a fight for the toughest and most motivated.
Whether exchanging flows with Jay-Z on “Roc-A-Fella Billionaires” or expressing personal moments of pain on “I Cry,” Free At Last proves that Freeway lives and dies by his rugged demeanor.
Lil' Wayne & Juelz Santana - Always Strapped
Shouts to LowKey at YouHeardThatNew.Com for this one. Around the Carter II and up to the Drought 3, I considered Wayne the most improved rapper of the last decade. Then he became over-saturated (partly thanks to the media), lazy and sometimes boring, puting out material every 15 minutes. He might be more focused now after hearing "Gossip," "Brand New," and this one with Dipset rep Juelz Santana.
Lil' Weezyana has had his ups and downs, but this one here is pretty fire (which also happens to be the subject of the track, fiyaaa!). Buzz for the duo's collabo album Can't Feel My Face faded a little and, personally, I don't think it's going to come out until after Carter III in February.
Speaking of the February, Nas recently told MTV that he's moving the release date for Nigger back two months, dropping it conveniently during Black History Month. Also, the snippet circulating the 'Net titled "What It Is" apparently won't be on the album and Nas claims to never have rhymed over that beat.
Now, I've commented before that Nas is trying to build hype for his album but I'm beginning to understand he might have some genuine intentions. I mean, I never use the word but I've been forced to use it and it's not in a malicious manner. Plus, why not push it back and make it a quality album, right? We'll see, I gotta get to class so I'm ghost.
[money over honey, the only motto i know]