Freeway- Free at Last

Point blank, Philadelphia Freeway was probably the third most solid and complete hip-hop album ever released under the Roc-a-fella album, eclipsing the albums of Kanye West and just about every Jay-Z album save Reasonable Doubt and the Blueprint. Fortune wasn't kind to Free however, the critical acclaim gave him little push in the sales department, then the Roc split up, Beans went to jail, and according to himself on the Roc remix of "Can't Tell Me Nothing", Free went to Mecca and gave up rapping. However, he changed his mind and returns, united with 50 cent as an executive producer on his sophomore set, Free at Last.

The album starts out well enough, with "This Can't be Real" featuring Marsha of Floetry who has been making the hip-hop rounds lately. The song is a basic round up of Free's early career, and the sound sets the tone for the entire album. By the end of the album however it becomes a little trying as the samples are all played out in the same manner on most of the tracks.

"Spit That Shit" is not the most original track ever but Free manages to keep his clever lyricism on display, the overall strong point is the beginning of the album anyway. "It's Over" is a fiery and energetic track that brings out the best of Free's energy and bravado, as does "Rocafella Billionaires" which is the official single featuring Jay-Z.

But the album, though punctuated with Free's charisma and wittiness, does have dull points if not missteps. Take for instance the horrible attempt at radio friendliness on "Take it to the Top" which features 50 Cent giving one of the leftover hooks from the Massacre...and it was leftover for good reason. Free tries his best but can't rescue the song. Afterwards the album just rehashes the same points from the first album although without the aplomb and passion evident on the previous release. He tries on "Lose Control" which would have been better without the intrusion by Rick Ross, and the final track "I cry" which misses its target slightly.

Overall it's not a bad sophomore album but after the high expectations and quality of the first album it is a slight letdown.

Rating: 3/5


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