Album Review: Freeway And Jake One-The Stimulus Package
Continuing his quest to forge a singular identity and a career capable of standing without the fallen dynasty, Freeway, along with erstwhile collaborator Jake One have released appropriately titled The Stimulus Package in an attempt to revitalize his run. Following his previous release, Freeway was in need of a coherent cohesive project to get back on the path. For the most part, this album delivers.
The “Stimulus Intro” finds Free waxing poetic with fellow SP alumnus Beanie Sigel over an early 70s track rife with light pianos, feathery strings, and bongo drums. The two have a natural chemistry that floods the track with flavor. “Throw Your Hands Up” takes it a level higher energy wise with your typical anthemic track attempting to “bring real Hip-Hop you can trust.” “One Foot In” finds Freeway recounting his entry into the game and sharing his motivations for continuing in a game that hasn’t been so kind.
The album continues on with lead single “She Makes Me Feel Alright,” complete with a Rick James sample from Mary Jane. While the sample is well chosen, the song itself is a bit weak and unbefitting a rapper like Freeway. “Never Gonna Change” is Freeway’s version of B.I.G.’s “Warning.” Normally that would lead to a meh, but the beat and speed changes keep the listener off balance as well as showcase Free’s ability to hang onto just about any beat and flow. Chef Raekwon comes on for the drowsily haunting “One Thing.” While Freeway gets busy, Raekwon tears this track to pieces with jail imagery that’s enough to make you clench your ass and get scared straight faster than you can say “Don’t drop the soap.”
The pace slows to a crawl with “Know What I Mean.” The song is too close in construction and feel to “One Thing” but it lacks the energy and panache. The bpm’s stay low but the music gets better with “The Product.” The theme itself is overdone with rappers rapping from a drug’s point of view. Unimaginative but executed fairly well. Young Chris flat out bodies “Microphone Killa” with extreme prejudice. Freeway refers to his traditional 16 free style that abandons bar structure. These kinds of songs separate him from other rappers, but Young Chris truly shines on this with lines like “microphone Killa, no Cam’ron, bomb like land mine/I don’t ask shit I demand mine!”