Freez & Mike Frey, a rapper-producer duo from Minneapolis, Minnesota, deliver their second album in the form of Freez’s Frozen French Freys.
I have to tip my hat to Freez & Mike Frey. In the wake of MC’S like Joey Bada$$ and Action Bronson, the Midwest duo has been able to take the grit and rawness of the East coast 90s sound, but update it in a way that doesn’t sound stale. Rather, Freez & Mike Frey’s sound is expansive and experimental; it’s like the soundtrack of the future over boom-bap drums. You could walk down the street feeling like ’93 Sean Carter in Marcy projects with the drums, but the jazz samples would probably go well with an acid trip. It works surprisingly well.
As for the project as a whole, I think I may have learned something, but by the end I was just confused. The title seemingly has nothing to do with the landscape of the project besides being a bit of a corny attempt at combining the producer and the spitter’s name.
We enter their world in the first track appropriately titled, “Our World.” Freez can definitely rap; he takes his craft seriously, and has some real talent. The rapper’s flows are smooth and interesting, and the lyrics are clever, but they lack serious substance. His world seems to be the typical rap lifestyle: that he is better than the competition, smokes a lot of weed, he rose from a poverty stricken neighborhood, and he’s widely respected in that neighborhood. From the first track over a melancholy horn sample, the audience can easily determine what Freez is, but nothing about who he is.
The second and third songs respectively go in somewhat of an interesting and unexpected direction. “So Sick” and “Roll Another” deal with a political topic as hot as ever: the oppression of young black males in Western society. “So Sick” starts with:
“Sometimes I sit and wonder why I look like this/
‘Cause my life’s been harder cause I look like this.”
You can truly feel the power and authenticity of what Freez is saying. This is a man that can’t lie anymore about how he has been treated. And while the psychedelic sample and knock of the drum allow Freez to get off what he is thinking in an entertaining and heartfelt way, it is still missing how the experience is unique to him. It is a lot of preaching and not enough story. Nonetheless, the emotion is there and I am confident that Freez has the potential to embody more of himself in his words as he keeps rapping in the future.
After the first 3 three tracks, Freez gets on his rapper shit again, and for almost the rest of album that’s really all there is to it. Every song is strong production-wise, and Freez always comes correct with the rhymes and flows, but it is only good in the sense that it meets the standards. “Most My” allows him to offer big ups to his homies and tell how cool they are. “On Da Grind” shows off his ability to go get the paper. “Skate” is a pretty laid back, feel good high-type song. All of these are good songs, but they are too typical. The rest of the songs are of the “I’m better than everybody else” type. Once again, well made, but one-dimensional.
It isn’t until track thirteen where we get a true peek at Freez’s more vulnerable side. The rapper shares the story of his dad and their relationship. He tells us how his father struggled with drugs and opens up to show listeners what life with that problem might be like. Here we can really start to see what has made Freez who he is.
The end of the album is startlingly more interesting then the rest of the tape, and makes me wish Freez addressed more about his personal struggles. Thousands of rappers can tell you how good they are in their bars, but only a few can make the ugliest part about them into the best music. Freez has potential to do this. I am confident he will hone his skill, just like Mike Frey will continue to do, as well.
My final judgment is this: the duo has a ways to go, but this effort isn’t too shabby at all. Although it is somewhat misguided at times, the project is a kernel of their potential, and if they keep working, they will only get hotter. When the time’s right, it’ll pop.