Everybody has a crew. It does not matter who you are or how successful you have been, every rapper has a group waiting in the wings. Freeway is no different, as his Ice City crew is ready to step up to the plate and prove they are more than tag along emcees. Consisting of Face Money, Bars and Hydro, Ice City is your typical group. Most of their efforts are about depicting their ghetto environment and the drama involved. While none of the three emcees posses any lyrical talent, their beat selection is outstanding. With the majority of the album handled by relative unknowns, the production aspect carries the entire group to delivering a solid debut album.
Producers such as Tekneek, Trackademiks, Franchise and Diverse all shine with their respect beats on the album. "U Talk It, I Live It" is an addictive effort due to an infectious singsong hook and a strong verse from Freeway. "Ride Up" is one of the better tracks on the album, as Joe Budden comes through for a standout verse. "Lock It Down" is very similar to Freeway's smash hit "Flipside", as the Ice City crew proves they can make good party tracks as well. But the album's best effort is "Philly Niggas", a hard as nails effort that epitomizes the group's vibe.
Even though crew albums are as cliché as scantly dressed woman in videos, Ice City's "Welcome To The Hood" is a surprisingly good effort. While the crew is only as good as their next beat, they do have a knack for making uncompromising street music. Overall, "Welcome To The Hood" is a nice summer album with hard-hitting beats that will catch many by surprise.