For the past few years Raz Fresco has been making some great music, and if you heard his “Screwface Tape” a year ago then like me you’ll be waiting for his début album “Pablo Frescobar” to drop. The album is released today on Duck Down, home of the Boot Camp Clik and more recently Statik Selektah and Bodega Bamz, with Raz Fresco the label has found a great MC who blends together old-school Golden Era sounds with a modern flow. The album instead of feeling like a collection of songs bundled together (like many releases these days) makes you feel like you’ve been on a journey from the rugged to the tranquil; the LP is a great listen regardless what kind of mood you’re in.
For instance, if you want an upbeat song there’s “Up North” with it’s airy sound and catchy chorus, there’s “Down” with its sample from Cam’Ron’s “What Means The World To You”, and there’s also “Swervin’ In Bape” featuring fellow Canadian rapper Tre Mission (who we in the UK know for his contribution to Grime) and the pair give us a Trap beat and a Trap delivery which is always popular these days. Incidentally the songs “Up North” and “Down” could easily be played on the radio and become chart hits if the music industry wasn’t so corrupt, but I digress.
If you want a moodier, darker style there’s “Live From Hades / Blood Of Slaves” with its warm, ethereal production and “4daGodz” which sports a slow staccato beat against a faint vocal sample. If you want some old-school sounds then there’s “Influenza” featuring Raekwon which consists of classical strings and a Soul vocal sample which makes the overall sound reminiscent of late nineties Hip-Hop.
“Cortez Nikes” featuring Chuck Inglish is one of the best produced tracks on the album and it features a nice mix of old-school and new-school influences too.
If you want meaningful lyrics there’s songs like “Anothr Nigga” and “Warning Shots / Murda” which clearly showcase Raz’ lyrical ability. The track “Live From Hades / Blood Of Slaves” contains some pessimistic but truthful lyrics which mention chemtrails in the air, fluoride in the water, and great subversive content such as “I bring the buildings down like Bush” and “why you think they murked Gadaffi for?”. The track “4daGodz” also features fantastic lines like “Buddha looked like me, Krishna looked like me, Moses looked like me, Jesus looked like who?”.
If you want a memorable chorus “Up North” has a great one; “Too many snakes niggas, too many fake niggas, too many fake women, too many, too many…”. There’s also great one liners like “leave me broke like the school system” in “Live From Hades / Blood Of Slaves” and “the blacks sell the white” in “Screwface City”. The latter song is simply a great track and it has an impressive video too…
The only track on the album which isn’t up to par is “Godbody” featuring Lo Thraxx. Unfortunately this song sounds too mainstream and a tad too “normal” despite having some decent lyrics. In my opinion it gets lost amongst all the other “club” Hip-Hop out right now and it sounds too similar to the generic music most Rappers make these days. Considering the content of the album intro (“No More Fuckery”) which features some definite anti-radio sentiments, it’s strange that Fresco would make a track like this. Thankfully this is the only “mainstream” track on the album, and as you get to the last quarter of the album the pace changes.
“All Eye See” featuring fellow Bakers Club member The 6th Letter begins to slow the album down and the final two joints of the album (“Come And See Ya Nigga” and “Equinox” featuring Bishop Nehru) are also super-relaxed tracks, these last two songs on the album are especially great if you’re unwinding or lounging around.
This more laid-back vibe is a great way of ending the LP, which is undoubtedly a solid début album by Raz. For all those out there who think Drake is indicative of the entire Canadian Hip-Hop scene, you might want to check out what real underground Hip-Hop from north of the border sounds like.
Putting Toronto On The Map.