Freeway (rapper)

Freeway (rapper)

Infobox musical artist
Name = Freeway
Background = solo_singer
Birth_name = Lesley Pridgen
Origin = West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Born =
Genre = Hip hop/Hardcore rap
Years_active = 2000–Present
URL = [ Freeway] at
Label = Roc-A-Fella Records, Def Jam Recordings, G-Unit Records
Associated_acts = State Property, Beanie Sigel, Ice City, Jay-Z, Rick Ross

Lesley Pridgen, better known as Freeway is an American rapper signed to Jay-Z's Roc-A-Fella imprint under Def Jam Recordings. He is notable for rhymes which are checkered throughout his verses, and for the long beard he keeps due to his Muslim faith. His moniker is derived from the name of the infamous drug trafficker "Freeway" Ricky Ross. He was a member of the rap group Ice City and is a member of the rap group State Property. [ [ Freeway Rolling Stone Article | ] ] Both Rick Ross and Freeway are known for their long beards, which along with their rap monikers, are derived from the infamous drug dealer, "Freeway" Ricky Ross.


Early career

In 1997, Freeway, who began his career as an MC by battling at the lunch tables in his high school cafeteria, met fellow Philly native Beanie Sigel while rapping on stage at a hometown nightclub. "We ain’t never exchange numbers or anything, but he told me I was hot and I told him he was hot", said Freeway. The two struggling MCs also made a pact that whoever got signed first would help get the other a record deal. Staying true to his word, Beanie Sigel "came back and got Freeway" not long after being signed to Roc-A-Fella Records. Freeway became one of the label's most valuable artists after making his first appearance on "" and appearing on several other Roc-A-Fella releases before putting out his solo album, "Philadelphia Freeway". Freeway is also known for having a longtime relationship With Napoleon of 2pac's Outlawz. Freeway's most infamous moment before being signed was his battled rap with then unsigned rapper Cassidy, hosted by Swizz Beatz. Though felt by many that Cassidy won the battle, it propelled both artist's into the unsigned spotlight, even garnering an underground highlight DVD. [ [ Blackstar Video Presents Cassidy vs. Freeway ] ]

"Philadelphia Freeway"

On February 25, 2003, Freeway released his debut "Philadelphia Freeway". The album was produced primarily by Roc-A-Fella-affiliated artists, Just Blaze, Bink!, and Kanye West and featured mostly Roc-A-Fella rappers as well, many of them from State Property, a Philadelphia-based bunch of Roc-A-Fella members that Freeway and Beanie Sigel had compiled into a group. The album's biggest hit was "What We Do" Featuring Jay-Z and Beanie Sigel. The now infamous video for the song features most of the Roc-A-Fella stable at the time, and actors from the hit HBO show The Wire, which is what the video premise was based on. [ [ Jay-Z, Beans, Dame Dash Withstand Fire, Rain On Freeway Video Set | ] ] The album achieved ceritified Gold Status. [ [ Freeway Bio | ] ]

tate property problems

Relations between Beanie Sigel and State Property soured after the incarceration of Sigel, and State Property essentially broke up. Whether Sigel and Freeway are still friends is unclear, though Sigel has said he didn't know if he would ever work with State Property again. However, Sigel was present at Jay-Z's "I Declare War" concert alongside Freeway. On the most recent Young Chris mixtape entitled "Killadelphia: More Bodies than Dayz", Freeway is on a track with Beanie, Peedi Crakk, and Young Chris, which seems to indicate at least some members of State Property are back on good terms. During this time, with the crew and label turmoil, Freeway had a spiritual crisis that almost caused him to leave the rap game altogether for his muslim faith. [ [,,3771319,00.html Free At Last Review | Artist Direct ] ]

Ice City

After his debut album, Freeway put together another Philadelphia-based crew named Ice City. The group is named after their neighborhood North Philly. Besides Freeway, Ice City is made up of Face Money, Bars, Indy 500, Peedi Crakk, and Hydro. "Welcome to the Hood", their debut album, was released under Sure Shot Recordings, but received little attention. [ [ Freeway Bio | ] ]

"Free At Last"

Freeway released his latest album "Free at Last" on November 20, 2007. [ [ DefJam. Accessed August 23 2007 ] ] There was a long delay in the making of the album and also the release of the album. Freeway went on hiatus for a few years, and as a devout Muslim, he journeyed to the holy city of Mecca. Upon return, he made a joint venture deal with G-Unit and Roc-A-Fella to bring out his next album. Jay-Z and 50 Cent both executive produce the album, and both also have guest appearances. [ [ Freeway speaks on G-Unit Collaboration ] ] The first single leaked was "Roc-A-Fella Billionaires", featuring Jay-Z. The second single, and first official single accompanied with a video, was "Lights Get Low" (also known as "Criminal Opera") featuring Dre, from the producer team Cool & Dre & Rick Ross.


Freeway, like most successful Hip-Hop artists, has made a slew of collaborations and guest appearances. Early appearances includes when 'Trak Killaz' presented 'Da Wake Up Call' featuring a #1 track called Bomb Blowed with Freeway, along with 56Ace Federation artists Lil Junyah, T. Moses, Cutthoat and Young Dubb.

He appeared on many of his fellow Roc-A-Fella stable artists. He had a verse on the Kanye West track "Two Words" with Mos Def from album "The College Dropout". He appeared along with Jay-Z on two high profile tracks. One, on Eminem's "8 mile" soundtrack on a song called "8 Miles and Runnin'". The other was a Mariah Carey song, "You Got Me", from her "Charmbracelet" album. [ [,,1697517,00.html Freeway Credits | Artist Direct ] ]

He had a verse along with Beanie Sigel, Nelly, and Murphy Lee in Nelly's song Roc The Mic-Remix on the album Nellyville. Freeway has also made appearances on albums by Jay-Z, Memphis Bleek, The Diplomats, Jermaine Dupri, among others. He appeared in the video game "". He also appears on Skillz new album The Million Dollar Backpack. Another close collaborator, Paul Wall, had Free on two tracks. "State to State" from "The People's Champ", and also on "On The Grind" (along with Crys Wall, Paul's wife) from "Get Money, Stay True".

Aside from appearing on a slew of Roc-A-Fella and G-Unit Mixtapes, Freeway has also appeared on Mixtape DJ's official albums. He appeared on DJ Khaled's Listennn... the Album on the track called "Where You At?", which also featured The Clipse. Appeared on a remix of "Ooh Wee" by producer Mark Ronson. The track also featured Ghostface Killah, Saigon, Nate Dogg & Trife Da God. His most notable guest appearance since his second album's release was a featured guest spot on the "Cannon Remix" by DJ Drama, which also featured Lil Wayne, Willie the Kid and T.I. (which is on "") [ [ Gangsta Grills: The Album | ] ]


*"Philadelphia Freeway" (2003), Def Jam/Roc-A-Fella
*"Free at Last" (2007), Def Jam/Roc-A-Fella/G-Unit


External links

* [ Official Site]
* [ Freeway]

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