Free 03 is just the first step in the second life of the Grape Street journey.
After serving five years in a Texas prison 03 Greedo got the good word that he is being released. It’s difficult to describe the time timeline of Jason Jackson’s life and not be blown away at how far he has made it musically. Between being homeless, losing friends to gun violence and being incarcerated, you would think his opportunities are slim to none to making a home in the music industry. While timing is everything, talent thumps all factors. Besides being a unique character for his stories of the streets, his rapping and crooning stand out. A song that shows those characteristics is “Run For Yo Life“. There was a clear T-Pain influence in his hooks and cadence on that song, moreover his distinct voice. The belting on “Run For Ya Life” creates catchiness to the casual hip-hop fan.
Knowing that a prison sentence could potentially ruin his momentum, Greedo locked in. He promised the fans to create 30 albums with the possibility of 20 years behind bars. Somehow he recorded around 3,000 songs, including his best work up to this point God Level. Greedo fine-tuned his distinctive sound into god-tier rapping and song-writing. He had somber thoughts on “Bacc 2 Jail” on his eventual sentence. Then there was charismatic shit-talking on “Gun Bucc” with some bounce. Equally important was the monumental moments of “Floating” and “Never Bend Remix” with Lil Uzi Vert. Greedo performed at the peak of his powers. While locked up, he dropped projects with respected producers DJ Mustard, Kenny Beats and RonRon in 2019 and 2020.
Following all of that, 03 Greedo decided to drop the mixtape Free 03 solely produced by Mike Free. This mixtape was more than just music, it’s a statement that the 36-year old is here to stay. He let that sentiment be known on the intro, assuring that this is the first step in the journey. Greedo hunger is palpable on the track “Took A Little Minute” which showcased his slippery flow that he has been crowned for. It’s the perfect track to show the seriousness of how he wants to pick back up from a two-year hiatus.
“Bitch I do voodoo my bitches are witches
Got sweat on my palms and my fingers is itching
Can’t trust these hitters these killers is snitching
Flyest young man from the purple division.”
The rapper from Watts keeps on that attack-mode energy throughout the album. “No Free Features” gets the dream-team link up of Greedo and the late Drakeo The Ruler who kept the Los Angeles rap scene afloat for so many years. The dichotomy of their voices and style makes for LA anthems that will live on. Similar to what Drakeo did when he was locked up in 2020 with Thank You For Using GTL, Greedo rapped over the phone on “Today”. While this wasn’t recorded in a physical sense, the bars and stories are as real as ever. He divulges on a crooked system and fake friends that cluttered his mind while locked up. It’s a tune that’s compelling even over a pay-phone which only furthers the point of his natural talent in music.
Greedo’s hooks were just as sharp as the flows and lyrical ability he showed for the first few songs. In concession he passionately sings about being the next Jay Z from the projects on “I Don’t Mean”, codeine martini’s on “Pourin” and not being able to control himself from the temptation of women on “I Can’t Control Myself.” While “I Don’t Mean” has a subdued vibe, the following two tracks reverberate intensely. Greedo demands attention with his thundering vocals, it’s where that T-Pain influence bleeds out. Features of BlueBucksClan and Ohgeezy bring their polar-opposite, mellowed voices on their respective tracks that mix well with the belts coming from Greedo.
The second half of the tape has some gems that keeps the steam hot from the first half. KenTheMan pens an assertive verse on “Drop Down” as she proves why she was deserving of a XXL freshman spot, claiming that Houston sound. “Buss Down” glides on this chaotic Mike Free beat about his previous trap life, a bop that serves its purpose. And Greedo even gets dark on us, speaking on the possibility of his demise. “If I Die” specifies what he wants when he’s in the casket; chains around his neck and a loaded weapon by his side. Given the unfortunate passing of Drakeo, it brings an eerie aura. Unfortunately, with the amount of deaths of rappers being due to gun violence it tends to creep in the mind.
Let’s end this on a positive note though, 03 Greedo is coming home. This mixtape was more than likely recorded during the sessions of thousands of songs being made before giving himself in. Yet, it feels up-to-date and particularly made for this moment of his release. Hearing Greedo and Drakeo together, for possibly the last time, reminded fans of the chemistry and reign they had as the new kings of Los Angeles. You just hope that the 36 year-old phenom has the opportunity to continue to build his legacy. It may take some time to shake the rust off and get to that God Level tier he was at in 2018. But if this project proves anything, given his over the phone bars, this is just the start of a monster run.