Tag Archives: Freeway

Exclusive: Freeway Talks About His Battle With Cassidy

In the 80s and 90s, Philly was known for producing some of the top DJs in the culture. DJs like Cash Money,  Miz and Jazzy Jeff set a standard that put “The City of Brotherly Love” on the map. If you were looking for a technician on the wheels of steel, you knew what city on the East Coast had them. Then the millennium rolled around, and Philly started to be known for something different. People started to finally zone in on the plethora of dope emcees being bred on those cheesesteaks, water ice and Frank’s sodas.

READ MORE: Beanie Sigel Ft. State Property; The Reunion

Roc-a-fella were one of the first to put a spotlight on these local rappers.

When they cultivated a crop of young lyricists, later known to the world as State Property, the Hip-Hop world took note. A movie, a clothing line and a new way of thinking and rhyme-flipping distinguished Philly from the pack of newbies cracking open the 2000s. A North Philly rapper by the name of Freeway was one of this crew’s top gunners.

Roc-a-fella was not alone.

Another Hip-Hop empire out of New York, Ruff Ryders, also identified Illadelphia as an incubator for rap music gold. They tapped a sexy shorty doo wop to be the darling of their crew named Eve. Eve came to the table, the pitbull in a dress, and did what few femcees have ever done at the time: She crossed over. But she also did that with the support of a whole team behind her. Features galore, she merged glamour and bars each time she took the mic. But there also was another: Cassidy.

READ MORE: The Ruff Ryders Announce a Reunion Show

When Cassidy signed to Ruff Ryders, he provided them with a different energy that shifted the Yonkers/ Bronx heavy energy that the label once had.

And this is where the magic starts.

The year was 2001 and Roc-A-Fella was on top of the world. The year prior, The Roc dropped Beanie Sigel’s classic The Truth, Memphis Bleek’s The Understanding, a compilation record with DJ Clue? and an album with Amil. 2000 proved to be a bankable year for The Roc, particularly with JAY-Z leading the pack with record that introduced State Property to the world, The Dynasty: Roc La Familia. This set up 2001 for an especially amazing year.

READ MORE: Neef Buck Dropped “Forever Do Me”; Album ft. Dave East, State Property & More

Clue? dropped another record. As did Beans… and history will reflect that JAY-Z solidified himself as an icon by releasing The Blueprint (let that breathe) and a live record with the illy Philly band, The Roots entitled JAY-Z: Unplugged. Needless to say Jay and Dame were stunting all over the place. And everyone wanted them… especially Hot 97’s number one radio DJ and tastemaker, Funkmaster Flex.

With an exclusive invitation up, The Roc took over the Flex show and one of the stars of the night was Philly Freeway. For almost 45 minutes, Freeway and his crew lit up the airwaves with bars after bars after bars. He killed it. But that might have bit him in the butt in the end.

The freestyle was a break from recording State Property record that included the entire crew: Beanie Sigel, Freeway, Young Chris, Oschino, Neef Buck, Omillio Sparks and Rell. That album produced the 2002 classic “Roc the Mic” that til this day sets it off.

READ MORE: Management for Freeway Confirms Successful Kidney Transplant

The energy around this night and the work that everyone knew was coming just a few months later, had JAY-Z on the phone (according to Freeway) stunting on Swizz Beatz.

While Freeway does not remember what was said, he did know that after that night they went back to the Bassline Studio for a quick moment to recoup. But shortly afterwards, he was whisked to another studio for another session. JAY-Z was like “Let’s go!”

They arrived at this studio and was met by Swizz Beatz, some members of The Lox and Cassidy (their new guy). Freeway says of that night:

“That was how it was back then. At any time, you would be called to battle. You had to be prepared to rap at any second. It didn’t matter where or who.”

When he walked in the room, he didn’t know Cassidy by face. But he “knew his name.”

“We knew who each other were. I knew him because he had a name for himself. He would call up Power 99, the radio station in Philly, and he would win all the freestyle contest on the air. There wasn’t social media like it is now and so, I didn’t know what he looked like. But I knew his name.”

Freeway and Beans had been battling all over the city. So it was likely that Cassidy, who is younger, would have know about them also. In fact they duo built them chemistry organically on the Philly battle circuit. Their first battle together was at a local teen club promoted by Philly legend Bobby Dance called “Dances.”

“I was in the crowd and was like let me rock with you. We been cool every since.”

But Cass and Free seemed to be on the opposite parts of each other’s world. Cass was at Central High School (one of the top schools in the city) and Free was in the cut. Without social media and acute geographical and neighborhood bias, their circles would not have met up.

“I believe the boah was from somewhere Uptown and I am from North Philly.”

Back to the studio… From The Roc, Beans, Chris and Freeway were repping. JAY picked Free.

And thus the history was made.

First Round: Cassidy rapped for a little over 1 minute. Freeway did almost 2.5 minutes.

Second Round: Cassidy rapped for a little over 2 minutes. Freeway did a little over 1 minute.

Third Round: Cassidy rapped for a little over 1 minute. Freeway did a little under 2 minutes.

Forth Round: Cassidy rapped for 1 minute. Freeway did a little under 2 minutes.

Fifth Round: Cassidy rapped for a little over 1 minute. Freeway did 2 minutes.

Sixth Round: Cassidy rapped for almost 2 minutes and the battle ended with Freeway asking for a beat to drop.

Freeway without doing a 6th round, rapped 52% of the battle.  To that point, some of his rhymes were from the early freestyle on the radio.

“I don’t want to sound like I am making an excuse, but I had been rapping all day. I don’t know what he was doing. After a while, I just went into my bag.”

Had he not been on Flex earlier, he would have probably had the rhymes in tow to go longer. Not only that, you can see there was a different mind frame that Freeway was in during this season. He was not focusing on battling, but more focused at the time being prepared for the freestyling that lead to a check. Also stylistically, they were different.

Cassidy had more punchlines and personal disses. As a rapper, I speak more personal, dealing with my reality and truth.”

It is true. As you watch the battle, Cassidy has a style most similar to battlers that break down and comes at their competition like a Lux, Mook, dare we say Goodz. Cassidy for all practical purposes is an opponent driven rapper, a style that is great for this current incarnation of battlers. Freeway, on the other hand had content that look at the complexity of urban life like a Shotgun Suge, Chess or T-Top.

READ MORE: Cassidy Returns to the Stage, But Remember When He Battled Freeway?

The vibe was intense that night, but what could be said was a victory for the hometown is that these two Philly rappers were the leading snipers for these big New York based rap crews. Paving the way for others like Meek Mill to take his place in the landscape of Hip-Hop elite… and for people like Troy “Smack” White.

Cassidy says that he basically started Battle Rap. I mean, then I can say that too. Smack and I have been friends forever and I freestyled and rhymed for him back in the day. Smack was every where getting every body rapping.”

“What they are doing now in the Battle Rap is incredible! I follow it.”

Some of the artists that Freeway actually likes may blow your mind.  As a follower, of course, he loves those who are typically on people’s Mt. Rushmore like Murda Mook, Lux, Hollow Da Don and Arsonal. But he also has a great appreciation for new stars like Geechi Gotti, Ave, Nu Jerzey Twork, Rum Nitty and T-Top. He not only is a fan, but friends with Brizz Rawsteen and Shotgun Suge. Two others that he keeps his eye on are John John Da Don and Tay Roc.

“I might come down if my schedule allows. I got a few shows around that time. If I can’t make it, I don’t have a problem buying the pay-per-view.”

READ MORE: Cassidy Returns To Battle Rap Vs. Goodz on SMACK/URLTV

Though Free is out on the road promoting his new album Think Free, the now Roc Nation artist shares a little more about commercial rappers that battle that simple was not captured on tape.

“I saw Cam’ron battle Tommy Hill. Cam won.”

Tommy Hill was another Philly flame-spitter and one of the founding members of the R.A.M. Squad, who was shot down and killed in 2011.

He also had a crazy battle with Queens Bridge vet, Cormega.

“Mega will probably say something different, but I won that one.”

The post Exclusive: Freeway Talks About His Battle With Cassidy appeared first on The Source.

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Cassidy Returns to The Stage, But Remember When He Battled Freeway?

Everyone is excited about the upcoming battle against Philly’s own Cassidy and the Bronx born Goodz on URL in a few weeks.  With the card, Resolution, everyone is curious to see if Cassidy can compete with one of the modern eras most formidable opponents.

While the question is out there… Cass has put in enough work to walk him right up to the top stage, with one of their top gunners.

Homie has been smoking dudes on the mic for over 20 years. Anyone who is anyone in Philly’s rap scene is familiar with the lyrical dexterity of Cass, and no one can front on how dope he is as an emcee.  Check out a video from Back2BasicsRealRapsTV, of Cassidy explain how he got on.

Also check him out as a buck, sick with the flows showing folk just why many believe that he “been” battle rap’s The G.O.A.T.

Well some people believe that. Clearly, Gilly aka The King Of Philly, didn’t agree (and you know when Gilly speaks… folk listen).

But none of these freestyles, his alleged 5001 victories in battle nor his street life scars- are what people reference when they talk about him as one of the originators of this current incarnation of battle rap. They look to the battle with former Roc-A-fella rhyme spitter Freeway, a contest that legend of Cass rest squarely on.

Back in the day, congregated in a studio, one of the most epic battles amongst commercial rappers not only took place but was captured on video.

Though the footage is grainy, the bars are preserved and presented by two of Philly’s greatest Hip-Hop voices.

In the footage you hear a young Freeway, with his high pitched and sliding scare vocals, spitting some of his most hard-hitting bars. Not to be outmatched, Cassidy brings the charm, clever word play and yes machismo to the field of combat. The overall consensus is that Cass won. His win was based more on the fact that Freeway seems to have ran out of rhymes in the footage, than just the idea that he saturated the atmosphere with superior rhymes. Both emcees where ripe with flows and bars. No one can deny that from the gate when Freeways starts his first round with, “You ain’t f*ing with Free for two reasons: my two kids, my two mouths to fee…” that Cass was not just dealing with any old emcee. This rhyme-fest showcase why the ferocious Philly spit-kicker was so attractive to at the time, the number one crew in rap.  However, the rules of the game differed about 15 years ago. Of course your pen had to be nice, but you also had to write like your life depended on it (and have a stash for a “just in case” scenario).

Check out for yourself.

Interesting enough, Cassidy battled (and beat) West Coast rapper, Dizaster a few years ago. And while Diz is one of this generation of battlers faves, lyrically, that battle could not hold up against Cassidy vs. Freeway. Bar-for-Bar both Philly emcees hold a mountain-like weight in the culture that can’t be moved or destroyed.

But on the Resolution card, Goodz will surely try.  With only 23 battles under his belt, few can say that they have beat him on stage. Sure you have those two disqualifications… and a few one offs where he joked the entire rounds… but no league owner or fan can say that Goodz is not worth the hefty purse that he requires to hold that glass of Henny and style on these n*ggaz. In fact, even Tay Roc felt the “Goodz Effect” last year when the two battled in Houston. This was the first time that “The Face of URL” and crowd favorite had ever been booed. Cass simply can’t sleep on Goodz. He is known to make people believers.

The sold out Resolution is set for April 27th in Atlanta. Other battles are Tay Roc vs. K-Shine, Nu Jerzey Twork vs. John John Da Don, Rum Nitty vs. T-Top, Shotgun Sure vs. Chef Trez and Yung Ill vs. Brizz Rawsteen. The card will be available on Watchbattlelive.com.

 

The post Cassidy Returns to The Stage, But Remember When He Battled Freeway? appeared first on The Source.

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Freeway Pens Deep Words On JAY-Z’s BLUEPRINT Getting Archived In Library Of Congress

JAY-Z Library of Congress

State Property‘s Freeway is officially a part of music history. The hip-hop veteran has saluted longtime mentor and former Roc-A-Fella Records labelmate JAY-Z on his The Blueprint album getting archived in the Library of Congress.

Free hit up Instagram Wednesday to reflect on Young Hov’s latest career achievement.

On Wednesday, the Library of Congress announced JAY’s legendary album will be inducted into the National Recording Registry.

Each year, the registry selects 25 recordings that are at least 10 years old and are deemed as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” by the National Recording Preservation Board. This year’s additions bring the total number of recordings in the registry to 525. Other albums added to the registry this year include Cyndi Lauper’s hit 1983 album She’s So Unusual and Curtis Mayfield’s classic 1972 blaxploitation soundtrack Superfly. (SPIN)

Additional inductees include music gamechangers like Curtis Mayfield and Nina Simone.

The rap legend’s album is among 25 records to be inducted, alongside music from Earth, Wind, & Fire (“September”), Nina Simone (“Mississippi Goddam”), Curtis Mayfield (“Super Fly”), Cyndi Lauper’s “She’s So Unusual,” and an excerpt from president Robert F. Kennedy’s 1968 speech where he announced the death of Martin Luther King Jr. (Okayplayer)

JAY’s epic LP features key production from game-changing producers like Kanye West and Just Blaze.

Blueprint is JAY’s sixth studio album and is widely regarded as one of his best works. The full-length also notably marks some of Kanye West and Just Blaze’s first breakout production credits. West produced four cuts on the project including “Izzo (H.O.V.A.)” which became JAY’s first top ten single as a lead artist, while Just Blaze produced the Grammy-nominated “Song Cry” among others. (The FADER)

The post Freeway Pens Deep Words On JAY-Z’s BLUEPRINT Getting Archived In Library Of Congress appeared first on SOHH.com.

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Freeway Has A Question For Diehard State Property Fans Only: “If You Were Stuck On A Deserted Island…”

Freeway

State Property’s Freeway is forcing fans to pick favorites. The hip-hop veteran hit up social media this week to find out who true SP supporters are most ride or die with.

On Tuesday, Free asked Instagram followers to pick which State Property member they’d choose if stuck on an island.

Back in November, Free went to IG to share a Throwback Thursday clip of himself freestyling back in the late 90’s.

The same week, Freeway hinted at performing a now-epic Hot 97 freestyle on an upcoming State Property tour.

Recently, State Property’s Beanie Sigel revealed State Property reunion tour dates and locations.

The post Freeway Has A Question For Diehard State Property Fans Only: “If You Were Stuck On A Deserted Island…” appeared first on SOHH.com.

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Bless Up: Freeway Undergoes Successful Kidney Transplant Surgery

Stand With Meek Mill Rally

Source: Gilbert Carrasquillo / Getty

Philadelphia rapper Freeway has been battling kidney disease for years. Fortunately yesterday (Feb. 5), the former Roc-a-fella artist underwent a successful kidney transplant surgery. 

The surgery went down in a Baltimore hospital. Free, born Leslie Pridgen, 40, updated his fans on his health via Instagram, and he reported all went well post-surgery.

“What’s up everybody? Thank y’all for the prayers and all your support. Everything went well, the surgery went well. And I’m in recovery,” said Free in the video. “God is good. I got the new kidney. The doctor said everything’s fine. Thank y’all man, I really felt the prayers. It meant a lot, man. I felt the prayers. Thank you.”

Bless up and here’s to a speedy recovery for Freeway—and more new bars

Instagram Photo

Instagram Photo

Photo: Getty

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Management for Freeway Confirms Successful Kidney Transplant

Philadelphia Hip-Hop legend Freeway shared on Instagram last night a video from the hospital as he was going under the knife to receive his kidney transplant. The surgery for the kidney transplant was successful.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

I’m going under now! Thanks for all the Love & support! Pray for me!!

A post shared by Freeway (@phillyfreeway) on

“It gives me great pleasure to announce Freeway’s surgery was a success. he is now in recovery. Thank you all for your prayers!!!,” Freeway’s management shared in a statement to The SOURCE.

Freeway was diagnosed with kidney failures years ago and has kept his fans up to date with the status of his procedure and journey in receiving the transplant. You can view the surgeon, Dr. Desai, who performed the surgery on Freeway below.

The post Management for Freeway Confirms Successful Kidney Transplant appeared first on The Source.

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Memphis Bleek & Consequence Pray For Freeway’s Kidney Transplant Surgery

Memphis Bleek

New York rappers Memphis Bleek and Consequence are sending big prayers to Freeway. The duo hit up social media this week to acknowledge Free’s kidney transplant surgery.

Bleek and Cons hopped on Instagram Tuesday (February 5) with support for Free.

A few hours ago, Freeway shared footage of himself moments before going into surgery.

In January 2016, the hip-hop veteran shared eye-cringing hospital clips and gave fans big motivational words.

There are tomorrows on their way worth the struggles of today. Never give up.

A video posted by Freeway (@phillyfreeway) on

Back in 2015, Freeway performed at a Philadelphia Kidney event.

Freeway, 37, performed at the National Kidney Foundation’s Philadelphia Kidney Walk Sunday morning at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The annual event, which is held in city’s nationwide, raises money that supports National Kidney Foundation programs and services for kidney patients, their families and people at risk. (NBC Philadelphia)

The post Memphis Bleek & Consequence Pray For Freeway’s Kidney Transplant Surgery appeared first on SOHH.com.

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Watch: State Property’s Freeway Asks For Prayers Going Into Surgery

Freeway

State Property‘s Freeway has fans flooding his social media pages with prayer hands emojis. The hip-hop veteran has shared footage of himself from a hospital bed moments before going into a kidney transplant surgery procedure.

The post Watch: State Property’s Freeway Asks For Prayers Going Into Surgery appeared first on SOHH.com.

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State Property’s Freeway Is All Smiles In This Selfie

Freeway

The post State Property’s Freeway Is All Smiles In This Selfie appeared first on SOHH.com.

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Freeway Shares Vintage Pre-Roc-A-Fella Records Footage: “Before The Fame”

Freeway Video

Philadelphia rapper Freeway is taking a trip down memory lane. The hip-hop veteran has shared some super throwback footage of himself before blowing up on Roc-A-Fella Records.

Free hit up Instagram to share a Throwback Thursday clip of himself freestyling back in the late 90’s.

This week, Freeway hinted at performing a now-epic Hot 97 freestyle on an upcoming State Property tour.

Earlier in the week, State Property’s Beanie Sigel revealed State Property reunion tour dates and locations.

A few days ago, Sigel announced a new “Now Or Never” tour happening later this month.

The post Freeway Shares Vintage Pre-Roc-A-Fella Records Footage: “Before The Fame” appeared first on SOHH.com.

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