Freeway Philadelphia Freeway

Freeway is the latest MC from the Roc-A-Fella camp to gain success by association. Down with Beanie Sigel, who has now churned out two underachieving albums for the Roc, he first made his presence felt on the surprisingly taut single "Roc The Mic.” While rhyming as if perpetually incredulous works in the confines of a chorus, the question around Freeway was could this be tolerated over a full-length release? On a few tracks the answer is yes. When Freeway is accompanied by the swirling blaxploitation soul that is quickly becoming the label’s trademark sound on "What We Do,” and the invigorating "Line ‘Em Up,” his energy is infectious. He also gets some points for "Alright" even though it shamelessly rehashes A Tribe Called Quest's "Electric Relaxation.” But when the beats calm down, Freeway doesn’t and his deficiencies come to the fore. Not only is his delivery limited, but his take on the striving through hustling ethic isn’t honed enough to elevate his lyrics above mediocrity and while production from Just Blaze and Kanye West occasionally bails him out, it isn’t enough to paper over the cracks. (Roc-A-Fella)