Kickin off our 10 Questions series with an up and coming MC from San Francisco, the homie Frak. Dude just dropped his Bagels mixtape, which has garnered over 30,000 spins online and he’s now living in Spain for the next 6 months. He was killin it on the MC Olympics circuit this past summer, opened for Shad and Earth Wind and Fire?!!?! So we sat down to get to the bottom of this and wax about Bagels and tapas.
“Am I a lab rat?” he asked me as we were about to start the first of Everything Ecstatic’s 10 Questions pieces. “Nah…you’re more of a guinea pig.” Here we go:
EE: I bumped Bagels a bunch of times…30,000 spins? That’s awesome. Tell me about it.
Frak: Yeah…I wanted Bagels to be an experiment in style, to try on all the sounds and flavors in hip-hop and see where I fit. That’s why it’s a baker’s dozen, 13 tracks with a different vibe every time around…So throughout my little rap career, a lot my fans have been my friends…my social circle, but my goal with Bagels was to transcend that circle. Thats what I’ve been doing all summer. the internet game is its own thing, but this summer i tried to put myself out there…do as many opening shows as i can and do as many gigs. It worked. I made it to the final round of the MC Olympics in Philly, Bagels got featured on Lupe Fiasco’s blog, reddit was huge…I opened for Shad and Earth Wind and Fire.
EE: Earth Wind and Fire?!
Frak: Haha…yeah, my school had them there for the 50th anniversary party and the president of the college had heard my song “Date With A Feminist” that was getting passed around and she personally e-mailed me and asked me if I wanted to open for Earth, Wind and Fire…and I was like “Are you kidding me? Of course!”
EE: That’s incredible man…So staying with the theme of the record…Talk about the intro, “A Dozen Cosigns.” You got Percee P, Denizen Kane from Typical Cats, Shad, Watsky…All of them were featured on that shout-out to kick-off the album. Talk about how you got in touch with those peeps and then talk about your relationship with Watsky.
Frak: With all the MC olympics, traveling, competing I was meeting a bunch of awesome MC’s that are inspiring to me and I wanted to utilize them to get more people to listen. Shad was watching me as i opened for him and sat me down and said “keep doing this man. keep doing this shit and happy to do a co-sign.”
I met Percee P at Rock the Bells, he had just hopped off stage with J5…Kills the set then he’s just walking around the festival and handing out CD’s…and all these peeps were there to see Macklemore and shit and didn’t respect this dude’s legacy, didn’t recognize him so I was all “Percee fucking P! You just killed it out there man.” He comes up to me and says “You look like an MC man” and I was like…what gave it away, the blue eyes and jewish nose? So i spit 32 bars for him and asked him if he wanted to do a co-sign for my record.
EE: Hell yeah! Dude is a legend.
Frak: Word…and Denizen Kane works with Youth Speaks and he’s a mentor now out of the rap game for me. I knew him for years and didn’t even know he was in Typical Cats when I first met him.
EE: Cool…so talk about the Watsky co-sign and I know you have a relationship with him..what’s going on there?
Frak: So he went to my rival high school in SF…like 6 years ahead of me. We both kinda come from the SF private school scene and he came and rapped at my high school a long time ago and we chopped it up after i had opened for him…back when my shit was super corny. He came up to me and told me to keep going and gave me his contact info and to send him music whenever. He’d give me advice on it often and I sent him an album I made called Real Talk…I sent it to Watsky on a whim thinking he’d give me feedback and he posted it on his FaceBook. I got like 10,000 spins off of that alone! More recently, we kicked it at his Outside Lands after party and kinda had like a drunken bromantic moment [laughs]. But he’s so dope and has kept up with everything I’ve been doing and it meant a lot, cause i admire everything he’s done and his live show, cause he’s a crazy performer.
EE: You’re from SF and that’s dope…That’s pretty much how we connected way back…One of my favorite lines on Bagels is “I’m gonna drop more projects then gentrification” and it makes me think of Bayview, haha…so talk about how you represent SF and break down that line.
Frak: A lot of my music is representative of SF, but i like to think that the eclecticness of it is representative of SF. I grew up in a more middle class neighborhood (West Portal) but my mom worked in the Mission and I went out there every day, moving from the fog to the sun you know…and getting burritos for lunch every day; Seeing that duality of all the different life that exists in SF, and that’s what I try to to represent in my music…I try to tell my story, but also try and capture the voices of people who’ve lived similar experiences to me.
That line…since I was a kid going to the mission with my mom, SF has changed so much…its so different, it’s like 50% yuppies and 50% Mexican families and it scares me cause every time i roll through it’s more and more lopsided. So I wanted to shed light on that issue.
EE: My favorite beat on the record is on “Cardiac Arrest.” Talk about that beat and that track
Frak: That was the last hip-hop beat my old school homie Nicky C made for me. I originally made that song for a class called hip-hop in incarceration, where I worked in juvenile hall tutoring kids on writing workshops and we learned about the incarceration system and its relation to hip-hop. That song was my final, in lieu of a 15-page paper and the professor loved it. That’s def the song i’m most proud of and i’m probs gonna do a video in Spain about it.
EE: So you’re in Spain for school, how’s it juggling your hip-hop when you’re out there.
Frak: Its kinda funny because I’ve been working on Bagels for 2 years and i dropped it a week before i left for Spain, so its like this time capsule of the last 2 years and then i escaped. It’s so dope out here and I haven’t really had time to explore the hip-hop scene yet, but my host brother Andreas, shows me a new Spanish rapper every day. They’re dope cause they rep their rappers more than like Houston rap fans.
EE: Sup with those Spanish girls man?
Frak: They’re good man, they’re difficult tho. [laughs] You can only play the “soy de Estados Unidos” card for so long. It’s hard to meet them cause the typical Sevilla girls are different. The club-rats are kinda trashy and it’s hard to talk to em. But the Spanish girls in general are classier with their cerveza intake where the American girls out here just rage.
EE: Whats your favorite tapas so far? I always loved the octopus ceviche myself.
Frak: Ooh…thats a good one. there’s this chicken with this mushroom sauuuce that is super awesome. And eggplant & jamon (ham) cake…all these layers of crazy shit. It’s intense.
EE: So then what’s your perfect bagel? You know my steez is the fresh lox cause you liked my instagram post when i was in NY…So meta btw…a Frak like on a bagel post.
Frak: Haha…thats the way to go. My schmear game is pretty tight…i’ve done the goat cheese bagel for a while. If you fuck around with a sweet bagel, you can go with the honey almond cinnamon schmear. I visited NY recently, but my favorite bagels are in actually NY and Montreal. Montreal has this crazy thing in their water where their bagels are so unique and they’re just…crazy bagels. And i’d have to go sesame…or asiago.
EE: Ok…last question…Gun to your head…tapas or bagels?
Frak: Damn…thats intense…Imma take both really…thats the next move. The bagel-tapas combination right there!
EE: I think we’re onto something man…maybe we should start a business together Appreciate the time homie. One love.