With budget cutbacks affecting the maneuvers of the Hip-Hop culture in several different areas, sometimes the best answer is taking it back to the bare essentials. No frills, no gimmicks, just raw, urban renaissance in the truest sense. As key numerators of the movement, Freeway and Seattle-based producer Jake One have devised a plan to eliminate fan displeasure by offering more bang for your buck. With motivation not for financial gain but for the betterment of the rap mankind, The Stimulus Package serves up a great solution for the lost art of replay value.
With a chemistry that stems back to Freeway’s sophomore album, 2007’s Free At Last, the Econ majors mix gritty ’70s samples with unyielding bars of fulmination to make for a complete bundle of a joy for the listener. The leadoff anthem, “She Makes Me Feel Alright” flips Rick James’ “Mary Jane” for a revamped serenade to the fairer sex. But Free doesn’t sugarcoat for too long. The bearded one stays close to the block for the majority of The Stimulus Package as he hooks up with Raekwon on “One Thing” because snitching was becoming too cool and gets the glow with the flow on slinky “Sho’Nuff.”
The album’s other co-star, Jake One holds up his end of the bargain by giving Free’s wildstyle enough diversity and range to keep stock in the album’s reserve. Futuristic in its sound and execution, Uno’s crown jewel on TSP, “The Product,” sounds like a stray from the album which shall never be unveiled. On the aggressive front, “Microphone Killa” and “Throw Your Hands Up” sound tailor-made for igniting souls at a live show. Conceptually, Free sticks to his traditional barrage of intimidating lines but the engaging tale of intruder alert on “Never Gonna Change” shakes things up a bit. And while faux-addressing fanmail has been done time and time again, the “Stimulus Outro” sheds light on his storied past with Roc-A-Fella as well as a few other well-guarded secrets.
When you have a tightly wrapped package such as this, surplus like Birdman’s verse on “Follow My Moves” can be counted as expected stockloss. Minor setbacks aside, the partisanship Jake & Free strike up on The Stimulus Package will serve as a vital tool in the bailout from musical monotony for years to come.