RECAP/INTERVIEW: Freeway at The Rhythm Lounge

By | April 21, 2012 at 11:22 am | No comments | Featured Post, Interviews, Recaps | Tags: , ,

Long Beach had been through the eye of the storm. Earlier in the day there was lightning and thunder, and as night fell, puddles of rain water congregated in the gutter. And as the moon crept out from behind the cloud cover overlooking the streets, the Rhythm Lounge threw up the Rocafella Diamond like the bat signal over Gotham.
I stumbled into the venue late, not knowing what to expect. DJ Goofy was on the wheels of steel running thru Tyga’s catalog. The green room was empty of everything except the signatures of vandals and stars gone by. The crowd was still on their way to the spot, and as things began to thicken, the show began.

A couple of the opening acts kicked their rhymes to the vocal track. It’s always fresher when the emcee rocks over the instrumental and not over something that was previously recorded and then adlibbed to live. Just a little guideline for longevity, but anyways… A couple of the opening acts stood out to me. Arnie Arnez was on his grind like Tony Hawk, he got radio hits up his sleeve and something for the MTV audience. India Blue and his crew had the girls screaming and reminded me a little of G-Unit in their prime. And Izhova Tha Khemist kicked the truth acappella.

Freeway took to the stage late and rocked that shit for his kids. Straight up heat, banger after banger, from ”Two Words” off of Kanye’s College Drop Out album, to the R-O-C smash ”What We Do.” The Philadelphia Freezer definitely left the stage with freezer burn.

For real tho, shit was live.

Freeway rocked the mic and left the crowd fiending for more as staff from the Rhythm Lounge were forced to pull the plug on the sound system due to the time restraints of last call. Freeway dropped one last bomb for the people and humbly stepped off the stage to gather with fans and connect with everyone who came out to support him.
I got to chop it up with the god real quick and asked him a couple of questions on behalf of ILLsociety Magazine…

Knowing that you profess your faith a lot in this hip hop, I was wondering what your take was on the impact of Islam on the culture of hip hop as a whole?

As far as me and Islam, Islam is my way of life. I’m muslim, so it naturally comes out in my music, you know what i’m saying? That’s why you hear the influence on me being muslim, but I feel as though hip hop as a whole has different influences. We had so many different cultures come together as one to create hip hop, and everybody put their own intake on what their cultural background is, or even if their background is what neighborhood or what sections of the earth they’re from. Everyone put their input into hip hop. That’s what makes it so great, and that’s why it’s so big and that’s why it’s living so long.

Philly is a slept on city, I feel, in hip hop man…

We getting it though, you can’t say north Philly is slept on right now, cuz Meek Millz is from north Philly.

Meek Millz is poppin’ and Vinnie Paz and Black Thought have been putting it down for a long time.

Yeah, Vinnie Paz, south Philly, Black Thought, north Philly. You know I’m from north Philly, Beanie Siegel is from south Philly…

Who’s the illest cat in Philly we haven’t heard of before?

The illest cat you haven’t heard of?


We got this nigga named Hollow Man that’s crazy that you ain’t hear of. Who else? We gotta lot of ill niggaz in Philly. We got my nigga Ready Roc that’s on the up and coming that you ain’t hear about. There’s a couple of niggaz doing their thing in the city. Meek was just like him, he got a shot and took off, know what i’m saying? And him doing him opened up the doors for a lot of other niggaz too.

All right, well being that your name is Freeway, and “free” being the key part of that word, what does freedom mean to you?

I mean freedom, I would say that it is everything to me, but Islam is everything to me, but freedom is important to me. I’m free like, you know what i’m saying? I get to travel the world, I get to do shows, like I’m from the hood, I’m from north Philly, and I’m here in y’all hood… you know what i’m saying? That’s big to me. There’s niggaz in my neighborhood that’s never going nowhere. There’s niggaz from my hood that never left the block, like you tell some niggaz let’s go to south Philly and they get like fuck no, we’re staying here! You know what i’m saying? So for me to be able to travel the world and go to different hoods and see how different niggaz get down, that shit is huge to me, and that’s a huge part of freedom, cuz a lot of my niggaz is on fuckin’ house arrest and they on them papers, and they can’t even travel at all, so you know what i’m saying? Freedom is important yo.

Word. I know you got the Freedom of Speech album coming out, what can we expect from that?

Oh man, it’s gonna be crazy. Electricity. It’s gonna be crazy man. Concepts. Good music, trust me.
– – –

And telling by the electricity in the air while Freeway performed at the Rhythm Lounge, his next album should be epic. His work with Jake One and Statik Selectah was superb, and Freedom of Speech should continue Free’s streak of excellence. The god definitely stands better on his own two than in the shadow of a crew. And just like a bottle of French cognac, Freeway keeps getting better with age.

Thanks to O.Prolific for having us as a media sponsor to cover the event.

-Ya man’s… “Drop Jewelz”
Photos by David Winkelman

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