Underground Fire: Raz Fresco Tells Us About Social Consciousness & Self-Expression and Breaks Down His New Album, ‘410 North’

Raz Fresco is no stranger to the the Toronto hip-hop scene, and his sharp and lyrically heavy content is probably more needed in today’s troubled world and complicated realities. Ultimately, the music is for the streets. It has helped kids overcome circumstances and harsh actualities. It’s human, brutally honest but still very vulnerable with a flow of an MC apexing early: his hip-hop DNA puts a power boom on knocking instrumentals. With ten years of experience in the game, we took a few minutes to sit down with Raz Fresco to talk about the journey. Laid back in a calm posture and lighting a backwood, he was more than happy to talk about his music.

The Brampton native starts talking about what he’s currently listening to, saying, “right now you’ll find Max B, Mobb Deep, Westside Gunn and all them Griselda dudes, [also] my regular rotation of classics like Raekwon, Jay-Z, and I listen to a lot of samples. I have a lot saved up to the point where sometimes I just rest my ears and listen to them instead of Hip-Hop for the vibes they have.”

Speaking on self-expression, Raz carries forth explaining that it’s one of his most valuable tools. “We live in a crazy world, and its a lot of things people go through, thoughts that cross your mind, ambitions and hopes we all have. I can transform that energy into music and positively get the energy off my chest. Some people don’t have a passion that allows them to convert that excess energy so they walk around with it all day. It can lead you to doing some next shit cuz that energy gotta be expressed in some way. I’m grateful I have music to do that”.

Having a reputation of an extremely skilled rapper and producer, Raz mentions that some of his inspirations come in the form of producers like Kanye West, Chuck Inglish and RZA – though, not necessarily in this order. Sitting calmly lighting his blunt, Raz starts to breakdown the process of recording his latest project, 401 North.

“Aside from some production from my brother Jerome Cobain on “Streets Keep Calling” and co-production from Mike Haze on “Build”, I did it all. The process was crazy because a lot of the shit I was doing at the time was all over the place. I was running around and just going through a lot. Many things have happened to go into the making of this project. I had cases I was fighting all last year that I just wrapped up, I had a son and [my] twin daughters [were] born. I had moved out and was living on my own, going through relationship issues, grinding and being on the road, etc.,” he tells us. “The whole time I would be working on music and just putting together songs that captured everything I was going through. With this project, I feel I got back in my bag and created a sonic journey through my life for the past 2 years that touches on many topics along the way.”

As the 23-years old gears up to drop new music, he talks to us about the overall themes running through the project.

“It really just captures a lot of the experiences I’ve had and things I’ve went through since after the release of Pablo Frescobar. This project is 100% me sonically. It’s my brain child. My last project I was working with different management at the time that was trying to get me to try out new sounds. I learned a lot and [it] just brought that back into my own realm. The message is just a story of the world through my eyes as I’m growing up in it. The young God from Brampton coming up and going through all the shit young black dudes my age go through while trying to do this music thing.”

As someone who promotes critical thinking, the B-town rapper also shed light on the messages hip-hop promotes to youth, and the role that the media plays.

“[For the] youth living their lives with hip-hop being their main cultural background, I have a line on my album that goes “I think rap making n**gas stupid”, and when I sit back and take it in, it’s correct. The mainstream rap industry promotes dumb ass messages to our youth, [combined] with social media “kings and queens” that are funny to look at and keep you entertained,” Raz continues to explain. “Next thing you know life is just passing by, a lot of laughs and dancing, but civilization as a whole and the world moves forward around us. There’s a lot going on, and I feel like as a culture, we focus on the wrong things and the media perpetuates the narrative. Lacking knowledge of self/the world is what stops critical thinking and our current cultural integrity, levels of ownership, and the news media is what keeps the fire going.”

In the midst of the interview, we couldn’t help but ask him one random question. We finish the interview and you step outside and find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $10 million. What would you do?

“Act like nothing happened. Y’all wouldn’t know,” he says. “I ain’t doing no hot shit to put my face on front street so everybody and their mom dukes can come ask me for money. I’ma make some low-key moves and begin to flip that money. Get into a bunch of different business ventures and invest in my brand. I’m on some empire building shit.”

As for the rest of 2018, his goals are simple. “Increase the amount of money I’m getting off music. Create beautiful memories with my kids. Continue to grow in mind and body. Help better the lives of others in a positive way. Push the Hip-Hop culture forward in a positive direction.”

Listen to Raz Fresco’s new album 410 North on all platforms now.

 

The views of our contributors are their own, and not necessarily those of Boi-1da.