While Hot 97 has been in the news recently for less than exemplary reasons, I’ll be forever indebted to the station for the night Jay-Z brought his newly-formed Roc clique to the station and let his guys rip apart beats for an hour more than a decade ago. Young David D. used to just type “freestyle” in his Napster search box and see what gems came up. My life changed when I found a 14-minute clip of the State Property guys rapping over “Quiet Storm.” To me, the whole session epitomized what it meant to be hungry. Each rapper (H Money Bags’ struggles that night notwithstanding) fought over the mic like a pack of hyenas over Scar’s last limb.
It sounds odd, but the Roc Hot 97 Session became one of the most inspiring things I ever heard. The freestyles always brought to mind what it meant to seize an opportunity and be fearless at it. Nobody exhibited this quality like Freeway, who thrashed every beat and cut in line to get his verses in. A decade later, it’s no surprise he’s the guy leading the pack, forging his own path to success.
Here, he reunites with the Young Gunz, Memphis Bleek and Peedie Crakk (who was sorely missed from those rap sessions) to absolutely demolish a Jake One beat. All of this to prepare us for their reunion concert tomorrow night at the Grammercy theater in NYC. Anyone want to fly me up for that?