, better known as Freeway
is an American rapper
signed to Jay-Z
imprint under Def Jam Recordings
. He is notable for rhymes which are checkered throughout his verses, and for the long beard he keeps due to his Muslim
faith. His moniker is derived from the name of the infamous drug trafficker "Freeway" Ricky Ross
. He was a member of the rap group Ice City and is a member of the rap group State Property. Both Rick Ross
and Freeway are known for their long beards, which along with their rap monikers, are derived from the infamous drug dealer, "Freeway" Ricky Ross.
In 1997, Freeway, who began his career as an MC by battling at the lunch tables in his high school cafeteria, met fellow Philly native Beanie Sigel while rapping on stage at a hometown nightclub. "We ain’t never exchange numbers or anything, but he told me I was hot and I told him he was hot", said Freeway. The two struggling MCs also made a pact that whoever got signed first would help get the other a record deal. Staying true to his word, Beanie Sigel "came back and got Freeway" not long after being signed to Roc-A-Fella Records
. Freeway became one of the label's most valuable artists after making his first appearance on The Dynasty: Roc La Familia
and appearing on several other Roc-A-Fella releases before putting out his solo album, Philadelphia Freeway
. Freeway is also known for having a longtime relationship With Napoleon of 2pac's Outlawz. Freeway's most infamous moment before being signed was his battled rap with then unsigned rapper Cassidy
, hosted by Swizz Beatz
. Though felt by many that Cassidy won the battle, it propelled both artist's into the unsigned spotlight, even garnering an underground highlight DVD.
On February 25, 2003, Freeway released his debut "Philadelphia Freeway
". The album was produced primarily by Roc-A-Fella-affiliated artists, Just Blaze
, and Kanye West
and featured mostly Roc-A-Fella rappers as well, many of them from State Property
, a Philadelphia-based bunch of Roc-A-Fella members that Freeway and Beanie Sigel had compiled into a group. The album's biggest hit was "What We Do" Featuring Jay-Z and Beanie Sigel. The now infamous video for the song features most of the Roc-A-Fella stable at the time, and actors from the hit HBO show The Wire
, which is what the video premise was based on. The album achieved ceritified Gold Status.
State property problems
Relations between Beanie Sigel and State Property soured after the incarceration of Sigel, and State Property essentially broke up. Whether Sigel and Freeway are still friends is unclear, though Sigel has said he didn't know if he would ever work with State Property again. However, Sigel was present at Jay-Z's I Declare War
concert alongside Freeway. On the most recent Young Chris mixtape entitled "Killadelphia: More Bodies than Dayz", Freeway is on a track with Beanie, Peedi Crakk, and Young Chris, which seems to indicate at least some members of State Property are back on good terms. During this time, with the crew and label turmoil, Freeway had a spiritual crisis that almost caused him to leave the rap game altogether for his muslim faith.
After his debut album, Freeway put together another Philadelphia-based crew named Ice City. The group is named after their neighborhood North Philly. Besides Freeway, Ice City is made up of Face Money, Bars, Indy 500, Peedi Crakk
, and Hydro. Welcome to the Hood
, their debut album, was released under Sure Shot Recordings, but received little attention.
Free At Last
Freeway released his latest album Free at Last
on November 20
. There was a long delay in the making of the album and also the release of the album. Freeway went on hiatus for a few years, and as a devout Muslim, he journeyed to the holy city of Mecca
. Upon return, he made a joint venture deal with G-Unit
to bring out his next album. Jay-Z
and 50 Cent
both executive produce the album, and both also have guest appearances. The first single leaked was "Roc-A-Fella Billionaires", featuring Jay-Z. The second single, and first official single accompanied with a video, was "Lights Get Low
" (also known as "Criminal Opera") featuring Dre, from the producer team Cool & Dre
& Rick Ross
Freeway, like most successful Hip-Hop artists, has made a slew of collaborations and guest appearances. Early appearances includes when 'Trak Killaz' presented 'Da Wake Up Call' featuring a #1 track called Bomb Blowed with Freeway, along with 56Ace Federation artists Lil Junyah, T. Moses, Cutthoat and Young Dubb.
He appeared on many of his fellow Roc-A-Fella stable artists. He had a verse on the Kanye West track "Two Words" with Mos Def from album The College Dropout. He appeared along with Jay-Z on two high profile tracks. One, on Eminem's 8 mile soundtrack on a song called "8 Miles and Runnin'". The other was a Mariah Carey song, "You Got Me", from her Charmbracelet album.
He had a verse along with Beanie Sigel, Nelly, and Murphy Lee in Nelly's song Roc The Mic-Remix on the album Nellyville. Freeway has also made appearances on albums by Jay-Z, Memphis Bleek, The Diplomats, Jermaine Dupri, among others. He appeared in the video game Def Jam: Fight For NY. He also appears on Skillz new album The Million Dollar Backpack. Another close collaborator, Paul Wall, had Free on two tracks. "State to State" from The People's Champ, and also on "On The Grind" (along with Crys Wall, Paul's wife) from Get Money, Stay True.
Aside from appearing on a slew of Roc-A-Fella and G-Unit Mixtapes, Freeway has also appeared on Mixtape DJ's official albums. He appeared on DJ Khaled's Listennn... the Album on the track called "Where You At?", which also featured The Clipse. Appeared on a remix of "Ooh Wee" by producer Mark Ronson. The track also featured Ghostface Killah, Saigon, Nate Dogg & Trife Da God. His most notable guest appearance since his second album's release was a featured guest spot on the "Cannon Remix" by DJ Drama, which also featured Lil Wayne, Willie the Kid and T.I. (which is on Gangsta Grillz: The Album)