Raz Fresco is among the members of the Toronto new school with the clearest ties to what came before him in hip-hop, and he often finds fresh ways to acknowledge that past while intertwining it with the modern hustle-and-bustle of the city. Case in point is “Honey Brown/Money Brown,” the first single from his upcoming mixtape HUSTLE. It’s not stodgy, it slaps, and Raz unloads flows that would make most rappers’ heads spin. You can check the video for the song below, and read on for an interview with Raz about what to expect from HUSTLE.
Noisey: What’s the message of this song?
Raz Fresco: Cash rules everything at the end of the day, so since getting money is something we all gotta do, this song is some “get money” music. And like I said on the second verse regardless of how one may feel about it, there are people dying just to eat a meal every day so this is just some motivational music to get that paper, even if you take a loss, this will motivate u to go and make it back.
Do you pivot between making club songs and technical songs, or do you fuse the two of them? Is that easy?
When I made this track I wasn’t thinking about making a “club song” and when I made tracks like “Another Nigga” off Pablo Frescobar I wasn’t trying to be technical. With that being said, I just make music how I feel and I try to drop jewels when and where I feel they will be taken in. When you try to unnaturally blend shit that’s when it becomes difficult and not easy.
What can you tell us about HUSTLE?
It’s a collection of songs that for the most part just deal with life and the everyday struggle but through my personal eyes and experiences. The title is an acronym that means How U Survive Through Life Everyday and most of the subject matter is about just that. Surviving through life.
Where do you think you fit into or next to the Toronto scene?
I’m not really trying to “fit in.” I want to just carve out my own place. I think I’ve been doing that thus far. There isn’t anyone you can say is exactly like me and I’d like to just keep it that way.
What kind of rap do you think people want to hear since you’ve been an active part of the scene here for some time?
People definitely want some variety, and they want some truth. That real shit. Everybody wants the truth in life but the thing is, the truth is bitter. So they want it in a digestible way. As much as the cars and jewelry and women are entertaining, at the end of the day, most people out here are struggling, going through some real ass shit every day just to make ends meet, living a paycheque or two away from complete poverty or hustling to provide for their fam. So they want something that brings meaning to their struggle, clarity, and direction. That’s why I try to drop facts, ’cause I know the reality of life and how much that real shit is needed.
Phil is a Noisey staff writer. He’s on Twitter.
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