Happy New Year! The turn of the new year is fitting for a change of pace, change of plans, or refocusing professional goals. Working closely with artist and MC, RichFraz for the past several years, I can say with confidence that he most certainly took advantage of the new year to turn over a new leaf musically. RichFraz has developed and finely tuned his sound, his brand as an artist and musician, and is finally ready to show people what he can do on the microphone. If you have not yet heard of the rapper/singer/songwriter, I'll briefly walk you through how he got here in 2022 with the release of his first album, Tale of Two Kingz.
Harlem-born, RichFraz has been influenced by old-school hip hop and the boom-bap sound from an early age. Rich's roots in Harlem have always connected him to music, but removed from the city for his adolescence in the Pocono Mountains, the rapper found himself carving out a niche in a world seemingly devoid of hip hop sound. To stay connected to what he held so dearly, he sang first before rapping, yes SANG, in his school choir and choral ensembles and anywhere else that would allow it. Rich started writing and rapping at the tender age of 13, creating rap names and lacing together lyrics and lines with the kids on the school bus and in his neighborhood.
As the rapper matured, so did his sound and level of seriousness about the industry, leading him to a series of single releases and mixtapes on Soundcloud before pursuing music more seriously with distribution to major streaming platforms. Mic Check was released in 2018. In 2019, RichFraz released two singles, Bars Never Left and Habla Esta Mierda, across streaming platforms, growing his presence and recognition as a serious performer. With plans for a 2020 album release, Rich set out to build his opus in June that year, but the pandemic had other plans. In 2021, RichFraz again released three projects, Baba Yaga, Forgive Me, and MDK. In 2022, he FINALLY released Tale of Two Kingz, his first album after decades of music-making. It is hard to believe that the project is his first full-length project given the quality, creativity, lyricism, and incredible production of the album as a whole.
The 1/1/22 midnight release of Tale of Two Kingz is just what we needed to carry us through another year of seeming uncertainty. At least we will have something to bop to in our crippling anxiety-riddled day-to-day (as an elder Millennial, I am speaking personally here). Since its release, TOTK is already doing some cool things! With modest listenership, the project continues to gain hundreds of streams daily, a surprise for a fairly "new" artist that speaks to both the quality and relatability of his work. In its first week, both Shine and Habla Esta Mierda from the TOTK album have been reviewed live on Time 2 Grind Radio out of Newark, New Jersey by Big 7. Both tracks were well received by the live audiences across 12 different social streaming and audio platforms with Habla Esta Mierda receiving A grades from the reviewers and Shine receiving high B's. In addition to radio reviews, Shine was recently placed on the Hip Hop Daily playlist on Spotify with over 20,000 listeners.
My personal opinion? This project will continue to "shine" through the winter months and take us into the summer with high energy and warm vibes. The bars are solid and reminiscent of some of your favorite MC's, the sound is upbeat, dramatic, emotionally tense, and reactive while reaching a specific set of boom-bap and hip hop lovers that so often feel left out in a modern world of mumble rap, word salad, and 12-word songs. Another bit of advice: listen to the entire project in order. You will thank me when you hear the magic that is the transition from Magnum Opus to Baba Yaga. Adele was on to something when she asked Spotify to stop with shuffle as the default setting for listening to an album. Tale of Two Kingz is one album I am confident you will enjoy. Leave me a comment and tell me what you think, what your favorite tracks are, and provide your honest feedback.
As I always say, be good and if you can't be good, take pictures. 💋