Self-produced albums are no big deal for Frisco Boogie. Whether his output is some surreal black comedy like “C.I.R.C.U.S.” or last year’s decidedly positive “Sunflowers in September”, the Nottingham emcee/producer maintains his reputation for having a DIY aesthetic. His latest album, “50 From The Cradle”, appears to be pivoting somewhere in between the spectrum of his last two albums. He completed the album around the time of his 50th birthday. In light of that fact, that makes the title something of a positive spin on the idiom “from the cradle to the grave”, though the horror movie-esque imagery of the album cover could be said to bear a stark juxtaposition to it. The title could also be a nod to 2023 being the year of hip-hop’s 50th birthday as well.
“The Switch Up” begins the album, with Frisco celebrating the pros and cons of lacking conventions. The beat is a slow head-nodder with its slurred synths. DJ GlibStylez makes several appearances throughout the album, the first of which is on “The BOOM” where he lends his hands on the 1’s and 2’s. The verse from 8ch2Owens marks the first guest rap appearance, while also sharing hook duties with Frisco. He has a deeper and more gravelly voice than Frisco, who comes with several wordplay-laden bars: “Caught in the crossfire / Trip the tripwire / flick the lighter / light up the sky with the night fire”. A woodwind sample adds a certain catchiness to the production. The title-track begins with a quote from Rakim before the piano samples drop. The first single, “Timboots & Hoodies”, is both a hot-take on and a straight musical and lyrical nod to the venerated 1990’s era of hip-hop:
“IF” has quite an imaginative concept to it. With brass samples interspersed throughout the soundscape, Frisco raps about a Monkey’s Paw scenario with a hip-hop twist: Any bar a rapper has already spat becomes reality. It’s doubles as a criticism on the lurid, violent fantasies of gangsta rappers. On “Then2There”, there’s a wistful nostalgic theme to it with Frisco rapping about youthful innocence slowly lost. Fellow Nottingham artist DJ Fever provides the scratches on “TAGS”, in which Frisco reconnects with his tagging roots alongside fellow graf writer/last remaining Artifacts member El da Sensei. “Boom Bash” is less than a minute in length and is fast-paced drum-n-bass mostly with Frisco dropping a quick verse.
GlibStylez and 8ch2Owens reappear on “Bullseye”, with the latter starting things off this time. From the UK to Florida, he has chemistry with Frisco as demonstrated on previous tracks. The brief interlude “Rise” gives way to the album closer, “Pull da Pin!” Of all of the tracks, this beat is the strongest and goes harder than “Timboots & Hoodies”, the hook is even catchier. With this album, Frisco has passed the milestone halfway mark along with the genre they both represent. Topically, Frisco Boogie’s albums are like “Wheel of Fortune”, in that he spins a wheel and decides to make an album dedicated to whatever the concept the wheel lands on. But with a double-threat hip-hop artist like himself, the concept is usually in good hands.