See what we did there? See, Free used to be a Roc soldier, a Jay-Z asset. But now, as an individual who’s choosing his own path, following his own chi and calling all the shots, it shows and it sounds real good. There’s ferocity here. The new record, out yesterday, earned a solid XL rating from XXL (Hey, so did Meek Mill). Out of curiosity, we browsed through a few pages of reviews to see how often an XL gets bestowed and it’s not as frequent as Larges, but a rare Medium (2 out of 60) must feel like a punch in the gut.
Free expertly used some guest spots. And normally a solo emcee who enlists a long list of guests means they need help, but here he uses em’ just right. The opening track’s got our girl Marsha Ambrosius on it, followed by a beautiful Vivian Green spot, plus Suzann Christine on “Wonder Tape,” Musiq Souldchild, less-than-amazing moments from Neef Buck and Wale, and a stunning turnout from Nikki Jean. There’s something that really works about the force and energy that Free brings, tempered by a chill, composed female vocal. It’s a hip-hop trope that works for a reason. When ladies sing the hook, it just sounds good.
It’s easy to feel pride for our city and for Freeway when you listen to this one. And for that we salute you, Free. You done good. Here’s an Amazon link, plus it’s on Spotify and iTunes.