Lebanese rapper Free Hamze is back, dropping his latest six-track project, FREETAPE 3: Survival of the Realest. Collaborating with rising Houston producer K33F, known for his work with JAN HVPE and TSF, Free Hamze delivers a potent mix of distinctive lyricism, trap-inspired beats, and unconventional perspectives. The tape features collaborations with rappers Blakchyl and TTBBY, adding depth to the sonic journey.
The Lebanese rapper raised in Austin, Texas, draws on his diverse influences, naming himself what he aspires to be. Introduced to hip hop through artists like Lupe Fiasco and Mos Def, rap music became an integral part of his immigrant upbringing. After making waves in 2022 with Green Alchemy and FREETAPE1: Friends With Bugs, Free Hamze continues to captivate audiences with his introspective and animated lyrics.
FREETAPE 3: Survival of the Realest dives into the notion that authenticity is the key to thriving in an increasingly superficial and distant world. Free Hamze, driven by a passion for community, not only explores these themes in his music but also actively contributes to community-building. His Sahar Studios in Austin stands as a testament to his commitment, offering free recording sessions to local musicians and hosting showcases. Currently, alongside his collective A5, he’s working on creating an intentional community in the American Southwest.
On the album, Free Hamze reveals: “When I gave FREETAPE 3 the title ‘Survival of the Realest’ it was because I wanted both me and my listeners to be constantly reminded how critical it is for us to stay real. In this world and in this lifetime. So much suffering, insecurity, fear, and misalignment comes from people refusing to prioritize realness in their lives. And what does it mean to be real? To me, it means being honest with yourself, it means being brave in the face of suppression, it means being dedicated to your dreams, and much more. And survival isn’t just about staying alive – it’s about living in alignment with your highest self and in alignment with the principles of righteousness. So much music is about needless violence, unchecked greed, and superficial gain. To truly survive in a corrupted world, we need to elevate beyond these limitations and embrace realness within ourselves and within our communities.”
Inspired by current trap music and the Houston hip-hop scene, the tape was crafted using FL Studios, featuring robust bass lines, hard-hitting 808s, and conventional bass guitars. Electronic and anger influences permeate the tracks, adding layers to the sonic landscape. Free Hamze spent a month recording at Sahar Studios, dividing his time between Austin and Los Angeles.
Most tracks, including Kill Me Twice and D.A.R.E., were recorded as freestyles, showcasing Free Hamze’s raw and unfiltered creativity. Collaborations with K33F, sparked during SXSW, resulted in a seamless fusion of beats and lyrics, forming the core of FREETAPE 3.
While not initially planned, the ongoing genocide in Palestine significantly influenced the project’s themes. From a quote by Ghassan Kanafani to an homage to Gaza, Free Hamze felt compelled to express his emotions on these pressing issues. The release of Raji’un ahead of the mixtape’s launch further emphasizes the impact of real-world events on the project.
With electrifying performances in Austin, Houston, LA, Mexico City, and beyond, Free Hamze skillfully blends whimsy and vulnerability, allowing his music to surpass both geographical and conscious boundaries.