Newest Review: ... (featuring Nate Dogg) I do not like the opening, all macho posturing and 'introductions', something 'Fiddy' does all the time. In fact I do... more
Well, have you heard of this guy?
Philadelphia Freeway - Freeway
Member Name: paulhanton
Philadelphia Freeway - Freeway
Advantages: Lots of big names work with him.
Disadvantages: Not enough individuality.
Freeway is probably a rapper that many of you will not of heard of, this 2003 debut album is a bit like a who's who in rap though when you look at who produced it and the artists 'guesting' on it, when you see the track listing below you will see what I mean.
The truth is, he isn't that successful, having only released two albums, the latest last year (2007), having defected from Jay-Z alone to collaborating with 50 Cent on his latest album.
So why so unpopular? Maybe it is because he is a devout Muslim, maybe he just has not produced enough, 2 albums in 6 years is somewhat sparse for a rapper, anyways, the music. Freeway's real name by the way is Lesley Pridgen.
Really heavy drum n bass start, a song about being incacerated. He has a very distinctive voice on this track which is almost 'sweet'. This song is full of expletives and I wonder how he lines this with his faith, however the message of the song is 'don't get involved' with gangs etc. I really like the backing 'whoo, whoo' singers it fits really well. Good opener 8/10.
2. What We Do (featuring Jay-Z/Beanie Sigel)
Real 70's hustle/funk feel to the start of this track and his vocal is a fair bit rawer than the first track. Kanye West has a huge influence on this album and this could be a Kanye song, yet he is not listed as being involved with this song. Sounds quite like it could have been released today, not nearly 6 years ago. With Beanie and Jay-Z involved to, it is very good, very strong. 8/10.
3. All My Life (featuring Nate Dogg)
I do not like the opening, all macho posturing and 'introductions', something 'Fiddy' does all the time. In fact I don't really like this song much at all, it is menacing without actually going anywhere. 3/10.
4. Flipside (featuring Peedi Crakk)
The start is quite clublike and it feels like it is winding up to be a really good song, lots of frantic drum n bass. Except it starts well and does not seem to change much throught, lots of 'rap battle' type rapping but quite repetitive. 3/10.
5. On My Own (featuring Nelly)
The distinctive voice of Nelly comes in from the very start and it is much 'busier' than you wouls expect from nelly alone. In fact Nelly just provides a platform for Freeway to let loose with some quite hard rapping. We get 'visits' from nelly throughoput the song. I love the constant bass riff on this track. 6/10.
6. We Get Around (featuring Snoop Dogg)
Speaking of distinctive voices....Snoop....This is a quite a disjointed song, just feels like too much is going on all at once, not for me. 3/10.
7. Don't Cross The Line (featuring Faith Evans)
Very interesting start, again, could be a Kanye song, especially with the use of female backing vocals. I quite like this, especially when we get faith coming in and 'taking over' every now and then. This is a big song, fast rapping and sweet soulful backing vocals. Works for me 7/10.
8. Life (featuring Beanie Sigel)
A 'rock' guitar start, wow that was unexpected. In fact he raps over a heavy drum beat and the guitar is always there in the background. This is a really good song, very much about (and he uses these words) "same shit different day" and it is a refelection of life in the ghetto. I do like this, very, very strong. He is so much better when he slows down. 8/10.
9. Full Effect (featuring Young Gunz)
Musically a great start, full of promise and menace, longest 'intro' so far. He almost gets into singing here as well as a slow rap. There is a backing riff, a mix between bass guitar and electric keyboards which is quite brilliant in it's simplicity and ability to draw the listener in.
10. Turn Out the Lights (featuring Kanye West)
Not only does Kanye sing on this, he also produced the track and it shows. Don't forget, this album was released a year before Kanye's debut album, yet we see his competence here already, and a taste of his own lyrics to come...'Lexus' features in quite a few of Kanye's songs. Great funky use of guitar on this track. Probably the strongest track to this point on the album. 9/10.
11. Victim of the Ghetto (featuring Rell)
Bit of a clichéd song for me, kind of heard it all before, not bad, I do like Rell's vocal, not heard him before, quite 70's feel to his vocal with a clear 90's rap message to 'be right'. 5/10.
12. You Don't Know (In the Ghetto) (featuring Omillio Sparks)
Real heavy funk/soul vocal in the background and a nice laconic rap here, good but not special, a song about discrimination really. 6/10.
13. Alright (featuring Allen Anthony)
Boring, heard it all before. 2/10.
14. Hear The Song
Great beginning again, real mix of rap and funk again, quite cool lyrics too. I like this as he raps well with a good musical score backing him up and some nice backing vocals. A really strong song again, and he 'tells a story' throughout, very contemporary. Unlike many of the songs on this album it really builds well and has different 'levels' to the song. Produced by Kanye and again, it is almost like he is singing, my favourite track on the album. 9/10.
15. You Got Me (featuring Jay-Z/Mariah Carey)
I really do not like Mariah Carey so I have tried to be objective.....horrid start with an awful chipmunk like interlude (Akon like). Kind of a ballad, well as much of a ballad as is allowed in rap. Okay, her vocal is okay, but this track is so out of kilter with the rest of the album it just aint right. 3/10.
16. Line 'Em Up (featuring Young Chris)
Bit of gospel organ to start and then a nice lead guitar riff, lots of 'introductions' again, that bores me. This is one of those songs where everyone gets a go at rapping 'fuck the cops' type lyrics, guitar great, vocals average, structure, poor. 4/10.
A competent debut, not brilliant but good. I feel there is just a little too much 'guesting' almost like Jay-Z was trying to 'sell' Freeway to the World by showing how many people were willing to work with him.
For the fact alone that we see Kanye West's emerging brilliance, it is worth a buy, and Amazon can give it up for less than a pound second hand. Will appeal to rap fans, but not hardcore rap fans, Kanye fans, Nelly fans etc.
Summary: Freeway's debut album.