In January 2011, rapper Evan Wallace, aka E-Dubble decided he would produce a new freestyle every Friday for a year. A “Freestyle Friday”. These tracks could be downloaded for free off SoundCloud, so getting them on my Nokia Lumia was no problem.
Wallace’s schedule in 2011 got increasingly clustered, and he got increasingly stressed. Working non-stop on tracks every week was a routine the rapper said he wouldn’t recommend to anyone.
Freestyle Friday #37 was a more reflective song than anything previously. The freestyle, titled, “Get on Board” has a much slower beat, it feels as if Wallace is talking personally to the listener. “Living with a vision imprisoning all your common sense”. E-Dubble is questioning if he is letting his feet leave the ground, is the task of creating a new song every week worthwhile?
Fortunately, the following weeks freestyle, Freestyle Friday #38, was much more upbeat. Titled “Rollercoaster”, the song is a metaphor for Wallace’s mood during the project. He could feel rock-bottom one week, but the next he could feel sky high.
At the end of each song is an outro in which E-Dubble documents what is happening in his life at the time, like a diary. It could be about the Phillies latest win, a party he went to or even a little story about a person he spoke to in the day. Most of the time they’re pretty funny too. It’s not something I can imagine the likes of Kanye West doing.
Anyway, enough of the E-Dubble life story, here are my top five Freestyle Fridays;
5. Hampden Parks (Freestyle Friday #7)
E-Dubble and his first Hip-Hop band, Young English, moved to Hampden, a neighbourhood in Baltimore, New York. Freestyle Friday number 7 isn’t the only time that Hampden is mentioned. The sample for this track comes from the theme for NBC sitcom “Parks and Recreation”. It’s a fast but not necessary upbeat song, telling people to go hard at whatever they do. I recommend for Monday Morning.
4. On the Radio (Freestyle Friday #3)
The sample for this track comes from Regina’s song simply titled “Radio”. However, E-Dubble ups the bass for this freestyle which means the song really flourishes with some decent headphones. The simplicity of the sample means Wallace’s lyrics hit harder, especially in the first verse, “All we wanted was to hear that fresh shit BLAST. Hit pause on the tape deck if it was trash”.
3. Board Game (Freestyle Friday #20)
My old favourite Freestyle Friday. It’s got the autotuned backing singer, a ritenuto (literally just looked that up just now, it basically means when the tempo slows), where Dubble gets some off his bars out and to top it off the sample is just the “Hey Jude”, albeit sped up.
2. Sidelines (Freestyle Friday #12)
Freestyle Friday number 12 uses the oldest sample of any of the freestyles. Some suggest Pachelbel’s Canon was first performed at Johann Christoph Bach’s wedding, on 23 October 1694, making the song REALLY old. Somehow, with a bit of editing, E-Dubble uses it as a backing track to rap over. The violins make the song, along with the new singer on the chords whose name can’t be mentioned.
1. Arcade (Freestyle Friday #28)
Arcade is quite a simple song. Three verses with a chorus in between each one. Freestyle Friday number 28 includes a catchy synthetic beat and some rapping in French. What’s not to like? The reason Arcade is my favourite E-Dubble freestyle is because it stands out so much on the mixtape. Sometimes the backing singer makes the song with these freestyles, but the fact it’s completely E-Dubble makes the song all the more sincere.
E-Dubble’s new album, “Two Tone Rebel” came out last month and is available to purchase from iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/two-tone-rebel/id1173041525