Album Review: Freeway & Jake One, The Stimulus Package

If this album doesn’t prove that Rhymesayers Entertainment is one of the most dominant forces in Hip-Hop, I truly don’t know what will. I remember hearing about this album at Soundset last year, and even then, I knew that this pairing was going to be something special. After hearing these two collaborate on White Van Music, it was quite evident that Freeway & Jake One needed to do more work together. I still have quite a few albums I am highly anticipating, but I can assure you that this album is going to remain in my top 10 for the year; it’s just that good.

Freeway & Jake One truly have more chemistry than a science class, and on this album it’s totally apparent; the mutual respect shown by these two really makes this album special. Jake One gives Freeway the hard-hitting soulful beats he’s used to, but Mr. Uno also gives Freeway tracks that allow him to flex his delivery skills on the mic. At the same time, it’s quite obvious that Freeway has the utmost respect for Jake One; on the “Stimulus Intro”, Freeway is animate about letting Jake One’s beautiful beat “breathe for a minute”.

After the pristine introduction, the album boastfully blasts off into the listeners ears with “Throw Your Hands Up”; Jake One’s drums, bass line, and strings envelop the listener right from the jump, and only two tracks into this album it becomes clear that great production is going to be everywhere on The Stimulus Package. Freeway takes the energy from Jake One’s triumphant beat to transcend the boundaries between growing up and present-day, “I remember when I was first trying to be a rapper guy/like the Pharcyde, the labels kept on passing me by/now-a-days when I hit em’ with the flow again/they like there he go again, the dopest Ethiopian”.

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Jake One flexes his sampling skills on the track “She Makes Me Feel Alright” and carefully concocts an incredible funk beat out of the Rick James song “Mary Jane”; Freeway has no trouble talking about that one woman in his life that makes him feel special. Raekwon joins Freeway to spit his wicked mafioso flow over Jake One’s mesmerizing beat on “One Thing”; I have to mention that I love Freeway’s reference to Bubbles from the Wire in his first verse. One of my sure favorites on the album is the “Stimulus Outro”; Jake One channels piano keys, weeping strings, and faded vocal samples to assemble an angelic beat, and Freeway talks to the fans and lets them know they are much appreciated.

If I had to pick one track for a highlight, it would definitely be “The Product”. Jake One’s beat reminds me of something that Dr. Dre would be thinking about in the back of his mind in the studio, and Freeway’s gritty rhymes draw allusions and metaphors between his rhymes and street drugs: “It’s crazy how they gotta get high to get high, they smoke la’ to get high, they buy pills and what not/you need to hear this, I am the codeine in your syrup, the coca from the cocoa leaf a necessity to Hip-Hop/I am heroin’s drip drop, I’m equivalent to a zip lock of chronic from your sess spot”.

All in all, this album is fantastic. Jake One’s production is simply spectacular, and Freeway’s rhymes are right on point. There aren’t many hindrances on this album; I have heard a few people complain about the Birdman verse, and to be honest, it’s not that good, but it really doesn’t take that much away from this album. The Stimulus Package, to me, has a definition that is twofold: first, The Stimulus Package draws the metaphor that Hip-Hop is much like the economy, and this album is inflating our economy (Hip-Hop) with some dope ass music. Second, Freeway & Jake One are dropping that package on the streets that you know is worth your investment.



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