By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia bred Rapper Freeway, who’s known for hits with the likes of Jay-Z, has spent that last nine months battling kidney failure.

On Sunday you could find Freeway opening for Beyonce in front of 50,000 fans at the Linc as part of her Formation World Tour.

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“It was amazing 50,000– people screaming every single word of your song,” he says, “it’s a rush.”

But days later, the hip hop artist went right back to where you find his heart.

“This is a special day,” Aaron Gamble, creative director of Greater Love Productions, told a group of young musicians, “we have a very special guest.”

Freeway spent Wednesday evening mentoring young artists at the Pascalville Library at 69th and Woodland Avenue in Southwest Philadelphia.

“I lay the track– I lay the hook…I don’t writing anything down,” he told the group, “I learned that from working with Jay-Z.”

He gave tips, listened and coached young performers.

“Just hit the drums so you can bounce a little,” he told one young man.

And when 16-year-old Raven Williamson shook as she sang her original song, he gave encouragement.

“Your lyrics are good,” he told her, “be confident.”

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Freeway working with young musicians at the Paschalville Library. (Credit: Cherri Gregg)

Freeway working with young musicians at the Paschalville Library. (Credit: Cherri Gregg)

It’s because Freeway knows what it’s like to have a dream.

“I was a kid from the hood and music was my passion,” says Freeway, whose real name is Leslie Prigden.

He made a name for himself on the Philly Streets and was eventually introduced to Jay-Z- where his career took off. But there has been struggle. Last year, he nearly lost it all when diabetes led to kidney failure. He now is on dialysis several times a week.

“I just came from dialysis a few hours ago today,” he says, “I’m not ashamed.”

His openness helped Freeway transform lemons into lemonade. In the past six months, he’s been lauded for his patient advocacy by the American Kidney Foundation and released a new album, “Free Will,” all while he waiting for a new kidney.

“For all those people who have kidney failure or any illness,” he says, “it’s not the end of the world…I am living proof.”

He’s also inspiring the next generation– to dream big.

“It was really exciting,” says Williamson, “to hear from someone working in the music industry– I am going to keep working.”

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You can find more on the Greater Love Productions and their efforts to bring positive music education to school age children here.