“I am going to kill the fuckery out there, and people is going to be in demand for the truth,” bellows a historical audio clip from legendary reggae-artist Peter Tosh’s famous 1986 interview in thick Jamaican patois; thus kicks off the debut album of Canadian rapper/producer, Raz Fresco.
Pablo Frescobar is the 20-year-old hip-hop artist’s debut full-length, and it delivers the full package: meticulously constructed rhymes, intelligent lyricism and exquisite self-production. Though he enlists the help of New York rappers Bishop Nehru, Raekwon and Chicago hip-hop great Chuck Inglish, Raz is the star here. On Pablo Frescobar, Raz Fresco is more assertive and focused than he’s been on past projects, tackling matters of black history, systemic racism and self-taught knowledge, as on the Bishop Nehru-featuring “Equinox” and Raekwon-assisted “Influenza.”
“Up North” is a Toronto anthem that successfully captures the complex urban identity of Raz’s backyard metropolis and fuses it nicely with textured production, while “4daGodz” demonstrates his deft lyricism as Raz aggressively jabs at structured religion and highlights the importance of knowing your own heritage. Use of skits, including a recording of Raz’s own mother, whose explanation of how he got his birth name Rasquiz leads into “New Pablo,” add context to the already strong offering.
Pablo Frescobar, although quite dense, is consistently bold and thought-provoking, announcing the arrival of a rapper who’s now matched his youthful vigour with the proficiency of a veteran. (Duck Down)