MLK

Rapper Freeway is surrounded by Martin Luther King Jr. High School students at a surprise concert on May 28. — Photo provided by Rockstar Management

Philadelphia native and rapper Freeway surprised King High School students with a concert on May 28.

The entire student population – more than 1,000 students were treated to the performance, which came a few weeks after the Keystone Exam, state’s high school graduation assessment. All students in all grades must past this exam in order to graduate.

“Artist voices matter to our children,” said Freeway. “And I’m looking to assist in whatever way it’s possible to help the progress. We all have a responsibility to give back from which we came!”

Freeway performed three songs for students, who excitedly rapped along and took pictures with him. He also encouraged students to do well in their academics.

He reportedly told students, “‘Kill education and you will be set for life...Kill education and you will swag out for life.’”

“That means do well in education and you will be set,” said King Principal William Wade. “It was the same thing I said earlier, but in my own way about Keystone awareness and how ninth graders won’t graduate and 10th graders won’t graduate unless they pass these exams.”

Q Deezy of Boom 107.9 Mc’ed the event; and Principal Wade was the opening act, as he performed some “rhymes” he’d written earlier in his life.

He said that he planned the concert a month ago, with the help of Marc Byers from Rockstar Management, who is also a King alumnus. And that he felt it was a good idea to “associate celebrations with these high stakes tests because they will remember that and pass it on to incoming seventh and eighth graders.”

Students said they were certainly surprised at the gesture and that it was a way to relax their minds after the test.

“I was in class doing my work on the lap top and an announcement came through for students to go to the auditorium,” remembers Rahsoul Johnson, a ninth grader. “At first I didn’t know what was going on. Somebody said it was Meek Mill, Will Smith or a news reporter. I didn’t expect to see Freeway, so I was hyper than usual. [And] I started singing his songs with him.”

Ninth grader Hynife Palmer said the concert “was something to take our mind off [Keystone] for the day.”

Amanda Taylor-Johnson said the performance hit close to home for her, for several reasons. “I grew up listening to a lot of old school music and my dad is a big fan of Freeway. And I am interested in singing and dancing professionally,” she said. “I write my own raps, as I feel.”

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