released Feb 16th, 2010

from the album - Microphone Killa

YouTube - Freeway-Microphone killa

from all music

Freeway fast became a valuable member of the Roc-a-Fella family in the early 2000s. His ascent can be traced back to an agreement he made with fellow Philadelphia native Beanie Sigel. Acquaintances from the same local nightclub, the two shared admiration for one another and made a pact: the one who first landed a record deal would pull the other along. Sigel got the tap first and stayed true to his word; Freeway made his first major appearance in 2000, on "1-900-Hustler" — a track on Jay-Z's Dynasty Roc la Familia album. A critical point came just after the album's release, when the MC was arrested for dealing drugs; forced to choose between two careers, he opted to stay in hip-hop, releasing the excellent debut full-length Philadelphia Freeway in early 2003. At the same time, Freeway was part of the State Property collective. An album with the four-member Ice City, Welcome to the Hood, had a low-profile 2004 release. Three years later, Roc-a-Fella finally issued Free's second album, Free at Last. While Just Blaze dominated the production work on Philadelphia Freeway, a cast including Cool & Dre, Don Cannon, Dame Grease, and J.R. Rotem shared the load this time out. Upon severing ties with Roc-a-Fella, he issued the no-frills 2009 album Philadelphia Freeway 2 (Real Talk), as well as 2010's The Stimulus Package (Rhymesayers), a collaboration with Jake One.

album review from planetill

Continuing his quest to forge a singular identity and a career capable of standing without the fallen dynasty, Freeway, along with erstwhile collaborator Jake One have released appropriately titled The Stimulus Package in an attempt to revitalize his run. Following his previous release, Freeway was in need of a coherent cohesive project to get back on the path. For the most part, this album delivers.

The “Stimulus Intro” finds Free waxing poetic with fellow SP alumnus Beanie Sigel over an early 70s track rife with light pianos, feathery strings, and bongo drums. The two have a natural chemistry that floods the track with flavor. “Throw Your Hands Up” takes it a level higher energy wise with your typical anthemic track attempting to “bring real Hip-Hop you can trust.” “One Foot In” finds Freeway recounting his entry into the game and sharing his motivations for continuing in a game that hasn’t been so kind.

The album continues on with lead single “She Makes Me Feel Alright,” complete with a Rick James sample from Mary Jane. While the sample is well chosen, the song itself is a bit weak and unbefitting a rapper like Freeway. “Never Gonna Change” is Freeway’s version of B.I.G.’s “Warning.” Normally that would lead to a meh, but the beat and speed changes keep the listener off balance as well as showcase Free’s ability to hang onto just about any beat and flow. Chef Raekwon comes on for the drowsily haunting “One Thing.” While Freeway gets busy, Raekwon tears this track to pieces with jail imagery that’s enough to make you clench your ass and get scared straight faster than you can say “Don’t drop the soap.”

The pace slows to a crawl with “Know What I Mean.” The song is too close in construction and feel to “One Thing” but it lacks the energy and panache. The bpm’s stay low but the music gets better with “The Product.” The theme itself is overdone with rappers rapping from a drug’s point of view. Unimaginative but executed fairly well. Young Chris flat out bodies “Microphone Killa” with extreme prejudice. Freeway refers to his traditional 16 free style that abandons bar structure. These kinds of songs separate him from other rappers, but Young Chris truly shines on this with lines like “microphone Killa, no Cam’ron, bomb like land mine/I don’t ask shit I demand mine!”

Birdman flies through for “Follow My Moves” as Freezer attempts to reach out to the South. Another song that has been done before with different parties and while not wack, it’s predictable and pedestrian. One of the better Birdman verses I’ve ever heard even though it’s just a Cash Money commercial. Continuing in that vein is “Sho’ Nuff” featuring Bun B. Solid verses from both but nothing you haven’t heard from either. “Freekin’ The Beat” feat Latoiya Williams explores Free’s love for the music. The beat is probably the most melodic of the album’s offerings. Music as woman is better than drugs as woman in my book although the allegory is still not hard to connect. Williams is not really compelling as a vocalist but good enough for this song

“Money” featuring Mr. Porter and Omilio Sparks finds Freeway eschewing the drug route but refusing the square route in the almighty paper chase. The star of this somber track is Omilio, whose hunger shines through in his delivery. The last verse has him airing his grievances with labels who ignore hungry artists to feed the stars of the label, specifically naming Kanye and Jay-Z, and proclaiming that while he’s not a star, his output is just as valid. The poignant “Free People” is perhaps the most mature beat on the album in terms of harnessing emotion. Present are the sped up samples of the Blueprint era, but buttressed by a genuinely touching Freeway. The anticlimactic “Stimulus Outro” is a less compelling version of “Free People” for the most part.

The Stimulus Package reestablishes Freeway as a capable retail artist that can deliver a cohesive project. It’s not his best work and it doesn’t take advantage of his strongest talents as much as it should, but it is put together well and is devoid of any major mistakes. Not necessarily a must have but nowhere near a regrettable purchase. Very solid indeed.

Track Listing

1 Stimulus Intro Dutton, Grant 1:52
2 Throw Your Hands Up Dutton 3:43
3 One Foot In Dutton 3:28
4 She Makes Me Feel Alright Dutton 3:37
5 Never Gonna Change Dutton 3:44
6 One Thing Dutton 3:46
7 Know What I Mean Dutton 2:17
8 The The Product Dutton 3:39
9 Microphone Killa Dutton 3:28
10 Follow My Moves Dutton 4:05
11 Sho' Nuf Dutton, Freeman 4:13
12 Freekin' The Beat Dutton, Moore 4:22
13 Money Dutton, Porter 3:54
14 Free People Dutton 2:59
15 Stimulus Outro Dutton 5:32