A Passionate MC
Coming of Age
The title may have been inspired by President Obama's economic recovery act, but Stimulus Package shares its sonic resemblance with Jay-Z's Blueprint. Like Jay, Free pulls back the curtain and invites the listener to partake in his battles and victories.
And like Jay, he occasionally exercises his right to be cocky. While the occasional arrogance is justified, it doesn't make Free interesting, especially since his howl isn't. Unlike Jay, who insists that the sound of his voice alone is a hit, Free's voice isn't built for radio. But that doesn't stop ex-State Property soldier from trying. On "Follow My Moves," for example, he teams up with Cash Money honcho Birdman for an adventure in southern bounce. Surprisingly, Free sounds comfortable here. The song is instantly enhanced by mentally inserting Lil Wayne's vocals where Birdman's should be.
"One Foot In," as the name implies, is the requisite track about how you're blowing up but still loyal to the hood. This is a horrible concept, but it's mandated in every rapper's contract. "Microphone Killa" is Freeway at his fiercest: "Used to sling hard, bring the neighbors out/Now I throw yard parties, bring the neighbors out/ Turntables out"
The Bottom Line on 'Stimulus Package'
Stimulus Package is unpretentious hip-hop, stacked with soul samples, dizzying rhymes, and laudable guest features. But it's the magnetic production of Jake One that astounds throughout. Jake's mission on Stimulus Package is clear: magnify Free's strengths and mask his flaws as much as possible. He succeeds for the most part. Urrlly!