Freestyle - conducted by Christopher "Scav" Yuscavage
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Most people are familiar with the following formula: Artist A blows up musically, Artist A brings in his crew of underwhelming emcees, Artist A gets criticized for doing such, Artist A forgets old crew and refocuses on himself. However, it works just the same in the opposite format – just ask former Arsonists member Freestyle.
After gaining underground acclaim through his work with the Arsonists, the group disbanded, more or less leaving Freestyle back at square one with a solo career to undertake sans the help of his former mates. The result is his already slept-on underground debut, “Etched in Stone,” a series of appealing songs that, unfortunately, have not caught on yet in the United States. Overseas acclaim has hit for Freestyle, with his European buzz growing by the minute, and even Canada has seen the former Arsonist as a potentially strong solo artist.
Freestyle has run into some problems promoting the first single from his album, “Understand If I,” as former distributors and promoters have all but disappeared from the realm of his existence. But, with a touch of hard work and a bunch of self-promotion, the blazing emcee hopes to recapture some Arsonist-like success and reenter his name into the hip-hop underground.
Free took a few minutes to sit down and talk about his past with the Arsonists, his present album with Battle Axe Records, and his future plans of collaborating with a Finnish artist and putting out new material…
MVRemix: Alright, I was going to start off with some older stuff but I guess I'll start off with more recent. You were out touring a lot?
Yeah, I been doing my thing with that. Slowing down.
MVRemix: Mostly where, overseas?
Yeah, it's hard to do things in the States 'cause people be fronting over here.
MVRemix: Now, your new album, "Etched in Stone" is out already overseas?
MVRemix: How's it doing over there?
I mean, they're showing a lot of love over there for it. It's just a matter of people hearing it. At least that's what I think it is, you know. Just getting it out there. It's out in the stores over there, but people don't know it's there. I got to get the word out and then people have to actually go hear it. 'Cause when people finally hear it, they're like, 'Yo, I like it.'"
MVRemix: In an interview about 3 to 4 years ago, you mentioned that you were basically on a 'what's up' basis with the Arsonists. You know, it made it seem like you don't talk too much. Do you talk to them much?
Not that much. I speak to one of the Arsonists every now and then (Q-Unique). But the other ones, we don't really speak because they're not really into the Internet, or they're not really phone people. So they're communication lines are pretty limited. If I was to see them, you know, we'd chat. We'd even hang out. But it's just we don't really talk because their communication lines are limited. As least, that's what I think it is. I don't think it's that they don't want to talk to me, 'cause there's no reason for them to not want to talk to me, but...There's no phone calling, no e-mailing, because they don't talk that much...
MVRemix: Now, also in that interview, a couple questions kind of made in seem like you didn't really want the group to disband.
I didn't, I didn't at all. That's not what I wanted. That's not what I came into it for. And that's not what I was leaving it for. They asked me to leave the group, I didn't want to leave the group. They said they wanted it that way and I made it happen. I said I'll leave because I'm not wanted. I'm not going to stay where I'm not wanted.
MVRemix: And other thing kind of ironic about that, Q has got a solo album, but you were the one that didn't want to come out of the group, but now you've got a solo album out. So, how was that transition? From being in a group to now just you, representing that (Arsonists) in a way but also representing yourself?
The transition was alright, it wasn't that bad. I mean, in the beginning it was rough because I was going through the fact that the group broke up and that really hurt me and I was down for awhile, maybe a couple years actually. It didn't stop me from recording, but mentally, I didn't really want to do anything much without my dudes with me. Once I got over it, it was like, okay, I had to come to the realization that it's done, Arsonists is done. That view and that fire and that want, I gotta chill with that and let it go. I got over being hurt. I got over being kicked and stomped. I was like, okay, cool, now I'm gonna do my thing. It basically was reverting back to what I was doing before the Arsonists. 'Cause I was solo before then. So that's all I did, say okay, and go back to the basics. When I got with Arsonists that was a adjustment, that was an transition. I had to learn how to work with others, as far as writing songs goes, because I was always writing with them. It wasn't like I was just featured on one song. So that was a transition in itself. Learning how to deal with people, what they want, what they want to do with their decisions, with their opinions, with their feelings, with their emotions, with their habits. I had to go into that, I was with them for 7 years, but then I had to come out of that and revert right back but with 7 years of experience of rhyming on my hands.
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"I didn't, I didn't at all. That's not what I wanted. That's not what I came into it for. And that's not what I was leaving it for. They asked me to leave the group, I didn't want to leave the group. They said they wanted it that way and I made it happen."