News: "No One Really Respected Kanye West As A Rapper, Because He Was Really Good At Making Beats"

Friday, Feb 10, 2012 5:51PM

Written by Cyrus Langhorne

Former Roc-A-Fella Records rapper Freeway has opened up on rap star Kanye West's pre-fame days and how their "Two Words" College Dropout collaboration came about.

Crediting a family-like Roc bond for making the record come together, Free recalled how big of an anthem he knew "Two Words" could be.

"When I heard the beat, I was excited. It was theatrical and big. I like beats that challenge my flow, and it was one of those tracks that made me want to go ham on it. So that's what I did. I laid my verse for it at Baseline [Studios]. Then, he and Mos went in there and did their thing. When I heard the finished product, I thought, 'Wow.' I've been a fan of Mos Def's, so it was good to work with him and Ye. ... We performed that joint at a lot of different places. At the time, Ye would bring me out to perform. Everywhere he was at, I was there. When Super Bowl XL was in Detroit, we had a Super Bowl party with Pepsi and performed it there. We also did it on 'Chappelle's Show.' That was a really big record for me and my career. I perform that song to this day, at my shows. Everyone loves it." (Complex)

Free also used the opportunity to speak on Ye's growth from amateur emcee to Grammy-winning superstar.

"Kanye always pushed the envelope. He always wanted to take it to the next level. He was humble and hardworking, but his attitude was, 'I've got something to prove to the world.' ... No one really respected him as a rapper, because he was really good at making beats," Free added. "People that were around him at the time--and I won't say names--were like, 'Just make beats, dog. Do that.' But I knew Kanye was talented because I had listened to some of his stuff. So when he asked me to get on the album, I said, 'H*ll yeah. Let's do it.'" (Complex)

Last month, hitmaker Mannie Fresh described his respect and admiration for West.

"Kanye inspires me through his work ethic and his approach. He'll tell you his whole warm-up speech: "When we're doing a song, we're not doing a song just to be doing a song. We're striving for a No. 1 song." (Billboard)

Recently, rap newcomer Roscoe Dash told SOHH Yeezy is one of his top collaborators.

"When people ask me who is my favorite person that I've worked with I always say Kanye. Ye is so, so creative ... he always maintains such a high level of creativity and energy going whenever you're in the room with him. I admire that about him ... I learned so much about him in such a short amount of time, it's ridiculous." (SOHH)

Check out the "Two Words" music video below:

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