As the front man and co-founder of the international multi-platinum selling group C and C Music Factory, Freedom has traveled and performed around the world extensively, and has yet to meet a crowd that he couldn’t captivate. His performing abilities are just one of the things that keep the crowds mesmerized. However, once they get past that, they are shocked to realize that he is so down to earth.
Freedom, born in Bedford Stuyvesant in Brooklyn, New York, moved to Cambria Heights, Queens, New York at the age of 7, which is where it all began. Queens, New York has been the home to some of the greatest rappers and entertainers to ever grace a stage. Freedom went to Junior High School I.S. 192, located on the famous 205th Ave. in Hollis, Queens, which was home to RUN-DMC, Jam Master Jay, and L.L. Cool J. Freedom wasn’t just a watcher of Hip-Hop culture; he was one of the innovators and early hands-on creators. He would rock basement parties as MC Tiny Tim, a name he took from the 70’s and 80’s funk group The Fat Back Band and their song entitled “King Tim the 3rd,” which predated Sugar Hill’s “Rappers Delight” as the first commercially successful Rap record. In June of 1981, about to enter his teens, Freedom became a member of the 5 Percent Nation of Islam, and, thus, acquired knowledge of him-self and his people. Around 1983 he was arrested for burglary and various other omissions, which gave the judge no choice but to remand him to live in Boston with his brother, who was a police officer and attending Harvard University at the time. Freedom believed that this turn of events helped to save his life, and helped him to realize the true power of Hip-Hop and the power that many in his native New York were taking for granted. In the Boston/Framingham area Freedom honed his skills while rapping to young teen audiences who had just recently become familiarized with this vibrant New York street culture. To these Bostonians, Freedom was as close as they could get to real New York culture.
From there Freedom went to college and formed a rap group called “The Chosen Few” (also known as “Hard Core”). They opened for Dana Dane and Joe-Ski Love, and even opened up for the Beastie Boys’ first show ever in Newport News, Virginia.
However, his love for the music wasn’t fully realized, and while attending Virginia’s own Hampton University as a history/mass media communications major he was counseled by a music professor (whose real estate properties Freedom managed) to follow his heart and focus on music. This professor was the internationally renowned Roland Carter, who was Chairman of the music department at Hampton University and director of its internationally acclaimed choir for nearly quarter of a century, and who would later be named UC Foundation Professor of Music at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Today Mr. Carter is also Chairman of the National Association of Negro Musicians (NAMN), which was founded in 1919; it is the oldest organization dedicated to the preservation of African American musicians. A devout advocate of education and disciplinarian, Mr. Carter obviously saw something in Freedom that prompted those timely words of wisdom. Freedom and Professor Roland Carter are still friends today.
Within two years of Mr. Carter’s advice, Freedom found himself back home as an assistant engineer at Quad Recording Studios in Midtown Manhattan. This was 1988. Freedom’s first commercially successful single was put out on the independent label Nu-Groove Records owned by Frank and Judy Russell he was featured as a guest vocalist. Def Jam records executive Kelly Monaghan, who at the time was running a label distributed by Nu-Groove brought him to them. Interestingly enough, the song was called “Rise to Freedom,” which was produced by the 7 member, house music super group, Total Science out of East New York. The single featured Underground Network founder Barbara Tucker. Total Science also known as the underground kids consisted of house hit makers Michael Baker, Shaka, Samuel Medina, and Ian Skeete.
This was an underground house hit admonishing the oppressive apartheid regime in South Africa. Freedom’s second single entitled “Get-Dumb,” which was distributed by Vendetta/A&M Records and co-produced by Kenny “Dope” Gonzalez of the now famous Masters at Work tandem (which also includes Little Louis Vega), was on the B-side of the hit song “You’re my One And Only (True Love)” by the three girl singing group Seduction, which was put together by mega-hit producers Clivilles and Cole. Freedom met Kenny Dope when they were hanging out in the house studio of Nu-Groove. Shortly there after, Freedom, Cole and Clivilles would form C and C Music Factory featuring Freedom Williams. Freedom became famous for literally smashing clubs like The Palladium, The Tunnel, and Red Zone. A story goes that rapper K-YZE, who had a hit single out called Stomp (That’s The Idea), laughed at Freedom as he ran across the bar and jumped from table to table, telling his Friend “he’s corny he dances too much.” Shortly thereafter Freedom went on to sell millions of records because of this dancing. Before the Palladium’s closing Freedom would perform by himself for 30 minutes with one single and literally in front of thousands perform like it was his last performance.
Initially, Robert Clivilles and David Cole did not know that Freedom was a rapper. They found out through a friend who was working at the studio, whom Freedom happened to be college buddies with. Freedom initially was an engineer at Quadrasonic Sound working on the first Rakiem/Genius project two artists later to be known as RZA and GZA of Wu-Tang fame. Freedom worked on the SSL recording console extensively, and says that “although my intention was to become assistant engineer, then chief engineer, then producer, then eventually artist, in the studio there is serious protocol and studio etiquette, and running up to producers, free-styling, was something that could get you fired in a heartbeat. So you knew your place and waited your turn.” As soon as Rob and Dave (Clivilles and Cole) heard Freedom rap, it was a wrap.