Freedom Stratton – Interview – Liam Sweeny

Written by on March 22, 2023

Freedom Stratton

There’s two aspects of music, to borrow from Laurent Rejto, “above-the-line” and “below-the-line.” Above the line is the ‘kumbaya one love zero stress, it’s all music.’ Below the line is the grocery bill, the power bill, rent, and keeping up with the Joneses if one’s so inclined. And in my view, hip hop is the most honest that music has a below-the-line. Hip hop isn’t afraid to compete. In terms of competition, Freedom Stratton isn’t afraid to compete either. And with millions of Spotify streams, competition pays off for him. A razor tongue and a great beat put him squarely in the driver’s seat.

I reach out to Freedom and we talk the grind.

RRX: I’m checking out your work, and I’m grooving on it. What got you going, and how long has it been since you first started putting stuff down in notebooks (which shows my age, so I hope people are still scratching out ideas in notebooks.) And let’s make this a ‘please introduce yourself’ kind of question. So who are you?

FS: I’m Freedom Stratton from Albany, NY, born and raised. I’m 22 years old. I have a  four year old daughter and a beautiful girlfriend that I’ve been with for six years. What got me going with the music industry was my mom. She would always sing in the house and my dad’s expectations for me to be great always drove me as well. I first put the pen to the paper in 2019. From then on, I knew this was the life for me.

RRX: I see you working a lot with B. Chaps. Not that there’s a point here; Rob Smittix interviewed him a while back. Is your collaboration something that y’all have been doing for a long time, or did you meet up recently? From the music I hear, you all have a good flow as performers. How did you meet?

FS: Me and B. Chaps have been recording with each other since 2020. We met through a job we were both working at during that time witch was Panera Bread. From there, I got his information and I started getting my music mixed by him. Then one day, he noticed the hard work I was putting in and that’s when he became my manager/best friend/music partner.

RRX: You’ve been all over this region, and I noticed The Egg which is huge. Where have you gone around here that you felt got you the most? Was it a “place to be” or was it just some get together somewhere? And where do you have to play around here that would make you comfortable anywhere else?

FS: Honestly, I’ve been to a lot of places. I’ve been on tour twice, but whenever I feel my best, it’s when I’m performing for the 518. I love my city and I always want to grow my community and see us win, and that’s where the most has happened for me opportunity-wise

RRX: I saw that you got a million streams on Spotify, which is pretty bad-ass. I know damn well you didn’t just drop a song on there and walk away; promotion is an effort; it’s a big lift. Did you orchestrate the promotion of that song and put it out there, or was there a factor that was outside of you?

FS: Actually, it was four million streams on Spotify. And I definitely had to promote my music and pay for ads and Spotify promos to get my music in the right ears always. Sometimes I shop music to record labels looking for deals for singles.

RRX: You were nominated for the 2022 Listen Up awards, a regional award by our station, Radioradiox. We really put it up to people, and they put you in the ring. In fact, I’m interviewing everyone that was nominated. So obviously the fans make a difference. What can you say to fans that voted for you?

FS: To the fans that voted for me, I want to say thank you for appreciating and seeing the time and hard work that I put into the music industry.

RRX: Hip hop is about struggle as much as country music is about drinking beers and driving trucks, so let’s say two shitty analogies. But there is struggle in hip hop, and interwoven into the music is a competitive edge. Thinking battle rap, but even not battle rap there’s competition. Who does the hip hop artist ultimately compete with?

FS: The hip hop artist’s only competition is himself. If you want to win, you try to win. If you want to lose, you’re going to lose. But if you’re working to get better, then practice will make you better, so it’s you and how you push yourself to be better. Nobody can stop you; only yourself.

Freedom Stratton has a new album with B. Chaps, Beautiful Day, dropping March 31st. One of the songs is featured in the new Fresh Prince of Bel Air.

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