Underrated: "Without Him, Rhymes Wouldn't Have Evolved As Much As They Did"
Tuesday, May 10, 2011 12:15AM
[SOHH features a new entertainment personality each week to speak on who they feel is the most underrated artist. After Prodigy gave Tony Yayo the title last week, producer Oddisee crowns Freeway SOHH Underrated.]
D*mn, that's a tough question. Personally, it's hard for me to name anyone underrated because we're talking about them, so they can't be "really" underrated. Even though I don't really consider him very underrated, I would have to choose Freeway to be my SOHH Underrated pick.
Freeway is one of my favorite emcees. It hasn't been since Freeway that the rhyme scheme evolved so much that the bars became unpredictable. Prior to him and his style, the whole style and bars of rappers were predictable. The rhyme schemes were so predictable and his flow directly affected my flow as far as where bars could be placed in a rhythm of a 16 [bar track.] His flow basically painted the story as far as where you could land your rhymes.
I first became familiar with Freeway when he made his debut with Roc-A-Fella [in the early 2000's]. I was just like everybody else saying, "He's not rhyming." Then I was like, "Oh, he 'is' rhyming! Oh my God! His voice is crazy! His flow is like a beast!
His unorthodox flow and his rhyme patterns not being predictable, for me, really made way for a lot of other artists and newer flows that are coming out now. I think without Freeway, rhymes wouldn't have evolved they way that they did. So I don't really feel like he gets credit for that.
Born in Washington, D.C., to a Sudanese father and an African-American mother, Amir Mohamed grew up in Maryland, influenced by soul and rap as well as the myriad of musicians on both sides of his family. He was all set to attend the Art Institute of Philadelphia, however, to pursue visual art when a friend of his introduced him to hip-hop producing. He was so enamored by it that he changed his plans and concentrated on making beats, ending up with the track "Musik Lounge" on DJ Jazzy Jeff's 2002 record, Magnificent. Part of the Low Budget crew, which included fellow D.C. area MC and producers Kenn Starr, Cy Young, and Kev Brown, Oddisee released his solo debut, Foot in the Door, mixed by Jazzy Jeff, on Halftooth in 2006.
Check out Freeway's music below: