Happy 4th of July Fellow 88ers.  Summer is heating up!! We’ve got Hurricanes pummeling the Carribean (Prayers out to all of our brothers on the Islands of Granada, St. Lucia, Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo, Haiti and Jamaica who were just hit by Hurricane Beryl). We’ve got Kids out of school eating us out of House and Home. We got the 2024 Olympics coming up soon (Has it been 4 Years already?). And we got a new blazing hot album from North Carolina’s FREDDIE RAY which is more than appropriate to present to you today, on the day this country celebrates its “Freedom”.  You see, FREDDIE RAY’s New Album, “DRAPETOMANIA”, is all about Freedom, and the endless, relentless pursuit of it, in a country that works really hard to portray a fascade of Liberty to the outside world, while its citizens are still dealing with the repercussions of Slavery and Inequality.


DRAPETOMANIA: A supposed mental illness that, in 1851, was hypothesized and researched by American Physician Samuel A. Cartwright to explain why some Enslaved Africans would try at any given chance, to escape captivity, no matter how badly they were beaten as punishment. The study was meant to find out how to “tame” the African American slave, and keep him from attempting escape.

This is the backdrop, and concept of the latest offering from FREDDIE RAY, a seasoned veteran in the North Carolina Indie Hip Hop Curcuit who has spent years making a name for himself, paying his dues, and putting lesser Emcees in their place.  Now with his reputation firmly established at home, FREDDIE looks to make a name for himself throughout the country and overseas.  However, all the years of experience have taught him that people need a lot more from their music than just catchy flows and punchlines in todays climate.  With all the modern re-writing of history, and  attempts at obscuring or white washing recorded historical facts, FREDDIE sees the importance of releasing a project that motivates, educates, and moves the soul to action, not just the head to bob up and down like a dummy agreeing with the fucked up situations we have been left with.  It is with this goal in mind that FREDDIE RAY tells the tale of many  young black Americans, growing up in a country that tells them they are free, but is constantly looking for any reason to strip them of their Freedom.  Freddie Ray explained the meaning behind the album to me in these words:

“Drapetomania is a term that was created to describe the mental state of slaves who repeatedly tried to escape plantations no matter what type of abuse they received if they were caught. No matter what you did to them, every chance they got, they tried to escape. For me, this album is about a boy turning into a man along his pathway to finding true freedom”

And so the album begins with the poetic opening track produced by NC Beat Guru JAH FREEDOM, “LOOKING FOR WAKANDA”, where the young man in the story (Part FREDDIE RAY, Part Everyday Black Citizen) hears his ancestors talking to him deep in his soul as he tries to navigate the crossroads, and pitfalls laid ahead of him. What type of Crossroads and Pitfalls you might ask?  Have you not been outside your front door? Have you never walked through “The Hood”? Well let FREDDIE take you there on “90’s KIDS”, a recounting of FREDDIE’s Rough Neck Youth escapades during the Bush and Clinton Era, including weed hustling, skipping school Monday Through Friday, and having affairs with married women while he was only a teen.  The dark funk bassline, and hard slapping drums programmed by producer BERNIE BURNS, provides the perfect soundtrack for FREDDIE to reminisce over.  He continues the story telling with tales of wild nights out on the town on “4 AM”, a joint about partying with his crew of beautiful Sisters and No Nonsense Brothers who were just as willing to crack your skull, as they were to spit a freestyle in a cypher.  D.R.U.G.S. BEATS makes this joint a great time with the Chopped Up Wa Wa Wa Sample.

Every young man reaches the age where they realize they need to barter their time for a paycheck, if they want to keep having a good time with pretty ladies. “WHITE BOY PLUG” is FREDDIE’s depiction of his early experiences as a member of the American Work Force, and how quickly he was mislead to earn money the quick and risky way by the opposition.  Was this a blessing, or a curse?  Listen to the VINNY KNUCKLES produced street story to find out. FREDDIE RAY admitted to us that this was his least favorite song to write because of the shame this story brings with it, and because he feels there is too much glorification of Drug Dealing, Hustling, and making quick money in Hip Hop.  He Explains…

“The song I struggled most with putting on the project would be “White Boy Plug”.  I didn’t want it to be seen as glorifying this type of lifestyle, it was just the way things played out.” 

From this point on, the album levels up on production, lyrics, and vibe.  Starting with the BEN WORKIN produced “THE WIRE”, a banger of a beat that FREDDIE RAY uses to slap the piss out of wack rappers, and terrorize Microphones. RAY spits hot enough to make his “Sister up in heaven, robed in all white/ be like “I told you Motherfuckers my brother was Tight/”.  He is able to swing bars hard enough to take heads off, but he recalls “Mama said to play nice”, so even though it might feel like full contact, be assured that he is just playing with ya’ll for now.

The beats just keep geting nastier, with the dripping introduction of GEMINI SEASON, where FREDDIE RAY displays a dope 4 bar succession cadence over the 1:28 D.R.U.G.S. BEAT production that is one of my favorites off the project.  He follows this short intermission where he, “Shows Love, Especially the tough kind”, with another BEN WORKIN arranged slapper, “KEVORKIAN”, which is another one of personal favorites beats off the project.  Let me take this opportunity to make it clear, I have had my own personal issues with DJ BEN WORKIN in the past, since he moved down to South Florida and out of nowhere decided to take to social media to throw dirt on my name, when all I ever showed him was support and camaraderie, (But thats neither here nor there). The point I am tryng to make is, even If I have a personal beef with an Artist, Producer or DJ, I am not going to shit on their work, or deny them their props if they have earned it.  This beat is an undeniable banger, and what FREDDIE RAY performs on it, is a Mercy Killing comparable to the ones performed by the Infamous Doctor, who shares his name with this song.   Through the vehicle of immaculate wordplay, RAY describes how the system, Government, and Powers that Be have slowly been killing us through our “daily comforts” and entertainment.

For the 1st 7 tracks on DRAPETOMANIA, FREDDIE RAY does most of the heavy lifting on his own, with his Team of Producers spotting him on each song, to give that extra energy he needs to break his last max weight.  It isn’t until Track 8, “ESCAPE THE SUNKEN PLACE” that FREDDIE invites some of his crew to join in the lyrical lecture.  North Carolina Young Bull BIG SUPREEME, and VEEGA talk their truth over the Bluezy Piano driven slapper. Over the 2nd Verse BIG SUPREEME spits,

“Thankful for every situation that almost caught me up/ Maybe I dont talk enough, Naaaah Yall just talk too much/ Flexing for the Gram, everybody trying to be popular/ Self Snitching, who even needs Phone Taps or Binoculars/ You did the work for them, they dont even have to target ya/ Your C.O. is like Hello Meet Captain Obvious/ “

Freddie Ray pic 1
Mr. & Mrs Ray Pic
Freddie Ray in Miami Pic 1
Freddie Ray & Big Supreeme
Freddie Ray in Miami Pic 2

“MELANIN POPPIN” is the other Posse Cut on the album, and one of my favorite joints on the whole album, as well as FREDDIE’s favorite. The beat is a funky marching anthem, 1 part Posse Cut, 1 part History Lesson, 1 Part Cultural Pep Talk.. This is the  Edutainment KRS spoke about. FREDDIE RAY, JOE GRIZZLY, BIG SUPREEME & VEEGA are actually teaching you, while keeping your head nodding. Dropping gem, after gem, after precious gem, and styles galore, these brothers provide us with the most enjoyable Summer School Class I have ever attended. Special Guest VEEGA spits ….

“Believe me, Its deeper than being sunkissed / It informs how your morality functions/ Associated Press says my cultures violent / Other hues shoot a few, Code of Silence/” Aint it the truth tho.

D.R.U.G.S. BEATS loses his mind on the drum pads and synth keys on “HOME” where FREDDIE RAY uses the exilarating break drum, and future funk synth fusion to share some logical, and practical lessons that translate from the block to life anywhere. This is the kind of joint we need to play loud at Our Fourth of July Cookouts today. This is in a way, a continuation of “LOOKING FOR WAKANDA”, where the lost young boy has finally grown and matured into a strong dependable soldier in the revolution, and found his Home amongst his tribe that joins in him the fight for True Freedom. Not the fragile mockery this system offers us, like a reward for good behavior. The album ends with the Title Track, “DRAPETOMANIA”,  another soulful banger by D.R.U.G.S., where FREDDIE forces listeners to take a hard look at all of the societal side effects that have shown up in the African American communities as a result of Slavery, Segregation, and being treated as second class citizens for generations.  This is FREDDIE RAY’s demand for reparations, with interest, thank you very much.

The whole album is a call to Revolution against our opressors, and to do better as a community every revolution around the Sun. Because whats the point of being free from physical chains and bondage, if we are still living limited lives?  Limited by our own lack of knowledge, lack of empathy, and lack of vision for the future.  Many of the slaves learned their lesson back before the Civil War, and made a choice to stay put working for massa, rather than be beat an inch away from death.  Thank God for those of us who were too hard headed to be tamed, to be brainwashed, and reprogrammed.  Too determined to be owned as property.  Those who kept escaping no matter the consequenses, and eager to show their fellow captives that True Freedom is attainable, but only if you are willing to fight, bleed, and even die for it.  Today, while you celebrate in memory of those who died fighting to liberate us from Tyranny and Taxes, remember that we are still fighting to this day to make True Freedom a reality for all Human Beings.

Follow Freddie Ray on IG – @mrfredtheoldhead

Spotify – Freddie Ray

DRAPETOMANIA is Now Out on all DSP’s – Check it on Spotify Here. 

Written by 8ch2Owens

Founder of Vice City Cypher, WVCC Radio, PROFRESH Publicty. With over 20 Years in South Florida’s Hip Hop Scene 8ch2Owens has carved his name into the Miami Hip Hop history books, and now uses his talents to promote the best in South Florida Indie Hip Hop and Underground Hip Hop from around the globe.

8ch2Owens WVCC