At long last, Freeway has returned. The Philly fam/Roc Nation MC has been hustling for the most righteous cause as of late: organizing and advocating for the embattled citizens of Baltimore. Freeway recently traveled to the city to shoot the video for his new single “#ILLUMINATE,” and the resulting clip is an inspiring story of Baltimoreans from all walks of life marching in the name of racial equality, fair law enforcement and an end to violence in all its forms.
Freeway opened up about the interview and his time spent in Baltimore in an expansive new interview with BET. That conversation touched on topics heavy and light, including the MC’s recent appearance alongside Jay-Z and Beanie Sigel during recent back-to-back NYC shows. But first and foremost it was about Baltimore, Freddie Gray and what sorts of help rappers can be upon the long road to justice. BET asked Freeway:
What made you want to head down to Baltimore to get a feel for the climate right now in the wake of the Freddie Gray situation?
Well, you know, first and foremost, it’s f**ked up what’s going on with the brutality and everything. I’m definitely familiar with police brutality because in Philadelphia the cops killed my first cousin Raheem Pridgen. They said he had a gun on him, but he didn’t have a gun on him. It still affects my family to this day. So I’m familiar with the issues. Plus, throughout my career, Baltimore has always been a heavy supporter of not only Freeway, but Roc-A-Fella Records. I would always go down there. There’s also a lot of people down in Baltimore that I care about, that I feel close to, so I thought it was important for me to go down there and lend my voice.
Talk to me about what happened when you met the Gray family.
It was, you know, surreal. I got there early in the morning before the cameras and security and all that was out there. I went to their hood, I went to their projects. I was with Freddie’s cousin, godbrother. I walked through their neighborhood and listened to some of the issues that they had. Basically, it was just talking to the people. It was good to get their point of view of everything, telling me how the media was blowing everything up making it seem like just a bunch of people going crazy. They were telling me that, if you notice, the main thing that the people were stealing when they were looting was basic necessities. Like, they were stealing clothes and water and food — stuff that they need.
Watch the new video for “#ILLUMINATE” below and read Freeway’s full BET interview here.