Whether together, reunited on stage as they have been as of late, or remembered as a unified front on their albums and In their films, State Property is a family, Philadelphia’s first family of hip hop. Beanie Sigel, Freeway, Peedi Peedi, Omillio Sparks, Young Chris, Oschino Vasquez and Neef Buck are the Mount Rushmore of local street-wise rap, and have been ever since Beans signed with Jay-Z’s Roc-A-Fella Records in 1999, then brought his friends along for the rough ride.
“We’re family. That never changes,” is what Freeway told me, back in 2018, on the occasion of a slate of live State Property dates along the East Coast.
“We never stopped working together or being brothers,” said Sigel, seconding Freeway’s emotion.
This week, that family is hurt and in mourning.
On Thursday, word went out fast that Freeway had experienced the loss of a child with little news solidly confirmed; that is until Freeway – a devout Muslim – posted a prayerful message on Instagram that his young son, Jihad Pridgen (himself a rapper going under the moniker SnowHadd) has died.
“God knows I try my best to be strong, but this right here is a pain like I never felt. Please cherish your time and your love ones because we’re not promise the next breath. I Pray Allah forgives my son for all Of his sins and I pray that Allah grants him the highest level of paradise. Ameen 😢 Please make dua for him & my family.”
No sooner than Philly’s hip hop community began mourning the 20-year-old Pridgen’s death, word hit that Freeway’s fellow State Property member, Oschino Vasquez, had also just lost his son, Janazah, a day earlier.
Vasquez shared, on Instagram, his shock and grief for the loss of both sons and called for peace among all brothers – rap and beyond.
“I WOULDNT WISH THIS ON MY WORST ENEMY!! DEVASTATION AT ITS FINEST. MY LIFE WAS PERFECT LAST WEEK. MY MIND WAS CLEAR MY MONEY STRAIGHT MY KIDS COOL MY HOUSE IN MY NAME MY ART POPPING THEN BOOM 5 STEPS FORWARD 1000 STEPS BACK!! @phillyfreeway CAME TO MY SON JANAZAH THEN I GOT THE BAD NEWS WHAT IS THE CHANCES OF THAT BOTH LOSE OUR SONS . FUCK RAP BEEF THATS FAKE SHIT THIS REAL LIFE IVE NEVER BEEN DEPRESSED BEFORE BUT IM NOW. WHEN I FIRST WAKE UP I FORGET THAT IT HAPPENED THEN BOOM THAT SHIT HIT ME LIKE A TON OF BRICKS.”
There are no official reports as to how either young man died. The only thing that is official is how much pain and sorrow the mothers and fathers of these young men are feeling. We grieve, as family, for family.