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Freeway & Jake One: The Stimulus Package

Rhymesayers

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With Definitive Jux on indefinite hiatus, Minneapolis label Rhymesayers is almost the last man standing when it comes to viable indie-rap imprints. Thankfully, then, the label is expanding its repertoire instead of scaling it back. Signing Freeway, a former Jay-Z affiliate from Philadelphia whose major-label 2003 debut went gold, is a masterstroke topped only by pairing him with influential Seattle DJ Jake One. Their album The Stimulus Project features each doing what they do best – Freeway walking a line between gruff and cuddly, and Jake One mixing soul interpolations, twinkling beats and clean, bassy bangers. The talk is guns, drugs and East Coast streets, and guests include Beanie Sigel and Bun B. Not what you'd expect from a Rhymesayers album, but better, as Freeway sounds revitalized; he's starting over and he knows it. "We rhyme like we got something to prove," he raps on "Follow My Moves." His hunger is palpable. 4 out of 5 stars.

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