Freeway and Eminem

Freeway is back on the scene with a new mixtape entitled 'Freelapse' -- an apparent tribute to the ever-hot Eminem and a tip of the hat to Slim Shady's successful 2009 release, 'Relapse.' The tape finds Freeway rapping exclusively over beats from Em's sixth studio album. The hook that started it off was from an alleged Em freestyle where he rapped, "I disappeared/I was hiding in Freeway's beard" -- a reference to Freeway's gargantuan facial hair situation.

"I sampled that, made it a hook and used it for a song," explained Freeway of the lyric in an interview. "After that, I came up with the idea. Eminem is a talented emcee, so he's got a lot of hot beats and another artist would probably be scared to rap to his beats because he's murdered every beat. So I felt that it was a challenge for me to try to live up to the expectation."

'Freelapse' serves as a lead-in to a full-length called 'The Stimulus Package' that's on the way in January. Why a stimulus package? You guessed it: Hip-hop is on financial and emotional life support and needs a little resuscitation. The record is being produced by Jake One and guests include Bun B and Raekwon, suggesting that there is something to look forward to.

"Me and Jake One work well together," Freeway explained. "We were knocking a lot of stuff out. So we came up with this concept of doing an album together and then came up with 'The Stimulus Package.' It's like me giving the stimulus package to hip-hop. We're giving the people what they need, that real hip-hop music."