Features | Awards

The "I Will Die In This Snow" Award for Grimy Rap Track That Will Aid in Scraping Through Another Winter

By Colin McGowan | 20 December 2008

Freeway :: “Everlast”
from Free’s ongoing Month of Madness Project

This shit is straight comfort food; get the chili bowl. I’m not sure precisely what the reception to Freeway doing a track a day for the entire month of December was amongst the general populace, but “Everlast” affirms that it should’ve been more adamant. This is indeed a frigid East Coast winter of a track, saddled with the discontent that comes with such glum matters, channeled through Freeway’s shrill gruffness, slush-filled shoes slogging through slop. The oddly chilly aesthetics of rising intonations and bouncing guitars provide the ideal environment for Free’s choleric determination. The verses are uniformly excellent, imparting street parables with an uneasy ease (“You can fool some of the people, some of the time / But a majority of people never last when they lie”), but a new wrinkle in Free’s flow is the real draw. The first verse features the fractured, overemphatic diction most have come to associate with Philly’s bearded prince, but in the second verse syllables slide, disassemble, and re-cohere like oil against pistons; then the third amplifies both the heaviness of the first verse and the liquidity of the second, Free’s flow shifting from breathless syrup to some coagulated anvil: “Stretch you like pilates, then my niggas hide the body, hide you in the first state: they will find you in Delaware / Mind you, I won’t run up be hind you with hollow ears / Let off the nine, blow out your mind for survival.” It’s a three act affirmation of skill that’s downright stirring, evoking the bleak doldrums of winter while nodding towards a milder spring that will, I can only hope, bring Freeway’s full-length along with it.