CD review: Freeway & Jake One, The Stimulus Package

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The album shows exactly why Freeway's plan is a winning one. Rather than water down his Philly street rhymes to cater to a wider audience, Freeway tight-focuses on the grimy details of a life with "one foot in the game, other foot in the gutter," as he puts it on "One Foot In." "Know What I Mean" (video below) finds Freeway dispensing street wisdom, while "Free People" features the MC musing on the grind of making a career in hip-hop. Also encouraging is the fact that the guests Freeway does invite to spit (Raekwon, Birdman, Bun B) all make sense in the context of the LP. No crossover attempt here: just hard rhymes and hard beats.


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For indie rap label Rhymesayers to land a deal with former Roc-A-Fella star Freeway says a lot about the rap industry in 2010. More and more rappers seem to be recognizing that nurturing a consistent core fanbase with tight, no-bullshit LPs might be a better long-term strategy than pursuing blockbuster crossover sales by crafting endless discs filled to the brim with guest spots, and that one-off record deals might trump long-term contracts that will weigh them down creatively. Freeway has in fact already announced he'll launch his own label through Cash Money since cutting tracks for his Rhymesayers debut, February's The Stimulus Package, produced from start to finish by G-Unit producer Jake One.

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