Not even an appearance on Mariah Carey's Charmbracelet was able to squelch anticipation for Freeway's 2003 Roc-A-Fella debut. With his hustling put on ice, Freeway delivers a strong album that should lay to rest the speculation that his unique vocal style -- alternating between a scratchy crack and an anything-but-gruff shout, filtered through a consistently high pitch -- would have difficulty remaining tolerable across a full album. Although his experience on the streets is tempered by his Muslim roots, the rough edges are never compromised. A lengthy supporting cast includes Jay-Z, Beanie Sigel, Snoop Dogg, Faith Evans, Nelly, and -- returning the favor -- Mariah Carey, but Philadelphia Freeway is clearly the domain of the State Property member; none of his thunder is stolen.
AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman