Originally Published on AOL TheBoombox.com.
Although Freeway is best known for his stint with Roc-A-Fella records at its height, and has released three albums since, the Philadelphia rapper had big dreams besides rapping.
“I just liked the sky,” said Freeway tells The BoomBox, of his childhood dream of being a pilot. “I used to always look up in the sky and see planes flying and I just wanted to get away. I from the hood, I’m from Philly, I always wanted to see the world.”
The 34-year-old MC chose the recording booth instead of the cockpit, but he’s still been able to travel the world off of his craft, only piquing his interest. As he prepares to release his fourth studio album, Diamond in the Ruff, Freeway still has a bucket list of countries he would like to visit.
“I want to go to Japan. I want to go to Australia. I haven’t been to Australia yet. And I want to go to the moon,” he tells us.
We sat down with the aspiring pilot to find out the inside story on Freeway’s five most memorable experiences overseas.
Visiting the King of Saudi Arabia
“You probably know I’m Muslim so the most blessed place I’ve ever been is Saudi Arabia, Mecca, Medina. You know we pray towards the east and that’s the place that our prophet was raised and where he lived and where a lot of the revelations were revealed, so you know getting a chance to actually make it over there, I been there twice.
“For me to actually get there for my hard work. It’s beautiful. The first time I went there I paid for myself and the second time I was the guest of the King of Saudi Arabia so they flew me out there, they gave me five star treatment, stayed in the best hotels. Gave me VIP tours of the Prophet’s mansion and everything. It was a beautiful experience. I’ll never forget. I plan on going back as many times as I can.”
Performing for Prime Minister of Djibouti
“I got a chance go to Africa and perform. It was called Djibouti. Actually I performed it was so good, they actually wanted me to stay and perform for the prime minister, so I got a chance to stay extra and make more money and actually just vibe out with the people and when I left, it was really like tears in my eyes because I couldn’t believe I was in Africa. You hear about Africa all your life, and me being an African-American, actually being able to get there from my hard work, something that I created, it was just a beautiful feeling.”
Islam at the Canadian Border
“I know everything seems religious, but that’s a huge part of my life. I remember I was in Canada, and I was going to the border, and then they stopped me. They gave me extra screening and then he looked at my passport, and he seen that I had been to Saudi Arabia a couple of times. He said, ‘You’re Muslim?’ and I was like ‘Yeah.’ He was like ‘So if something more beautiful comes along, then you’re going to accept that?’ and then I stopped and then I thought for a second, and said ‘I’m Muslim because it just makes sense to me.’ And he was like that’s the answer that I was looking for. And he was like I’m Muslim too.
“That made so much sense to me because anything can come along more beautiful than Islam. Like a woman can be beautiful and you can wind up worshiping a woman cause you want to be with her. Or you might want this new car or this Ferrari, or this Phantom, and ‘Oh it’s so beautiful,’ and you want it so bad, and you can wind up worshiping it and it can take it you out of your religion, because it’s beautiful. You have to go with what makes sense. So that really touched me when he said that.”
20,000 Avid Fans in Switzerland
“It’s just a lot of good times over there. Switzerland, it was just the crowd, just being all the way over there, just being accepted. They knew all the words to all my music. Me coming out there and it’s 20,000 people and they singing every word, it’s just amazing to me.”
Crazy After Party in Oslo, Norway
“Oslo, the show was crazy. We went to the after party and it was just nuts. ‘Flipside’ came on and the whole crowd was just going crazy, and it was just beautiful. Crazy, it was just beautiful, just to be able to know that your music is touching thousands of miles away.”
Diamond in the Ruff is in stores now. Check it out via our listening party here.