As featured in Complex UK
Photo by Ashley Verse
Grime outfit Boy Better Know have undergone a phenomenal couple of years as a staff, record label and as a crew. 2015 and 2016 has seen the legendary London crew’s visibility and influence rise to the stratosphere, so much so that even the one and only Drake got a tattoo of the BBK logo and claimed to have been signed by the group. If that doesn’t say worldwide recognition—nothing will.
The north London-bred camp’s success is in no small part thanks to the role of Skepta and his ascendancy into the pop culture canon. Taking his crew with him on his wild, wild journey to the top, the Meridian don’s monster singles “That’s Not Me” and “Shutdown”, and subsequent Konnichiwa album, not only gave the scene a new lease of life, but also attracted a new generation of fans from around the world, shining further light on the grime scene as a whole.
His younger brother, Jme, also takes credit, producing one of the albums of 2015 in Integrity> and giving us enough bangers to last an entireSidewinder. Together with their fierce independence and DIY attitude, the Adenuga brothers have provided greater relevance for a crew already containing grime royalty in Wiley and Jammer, and the incomparable Shorty. But in the crew is another emcee, whose influence isn’t always given its just due. For years, the man known as Frisco has provided a sturdy foundation for BBK, with a consistency that is unrivalled in the scene.
Fans may be prone to shunning him in favour of his more renowned cohorts but, with a sharp and direct delivery, lyrical finesse and one-liners for days, months and years, Frisco has always proven the naysayers wrong. He can stand toe to toe with any rapper and give them a run for their money, without even trying. I would even go out on a limb and say that he is in the realm of the term ‘your favourite rapper’s favourite rapper’, such is the impact this dark horse has made on the game.
Frisco has been in the game from way back, from the early days of Skepta’s “Private Caller” to the release of the first of his Back 2 Da Lab series in 2006 and beyond, and it’s not wrong to say that he has seen it all.
The raw intensity and energy with which he spits has never been compromised. Instead, it has been taken to greater levels thanks to an ever improving musical backdrop behind him.
This is fully realised in his debut album proper, System Killer, released earlier this year. An absolute rollercoaster ride of a project with smooth cuts to match the bangers, it’s a fully realised effort from Frisco and the culmination of the qualities that make him so unique. If you want him at his fiercest, look no further than album highlight “Them Man There” and bare witness to the bullet-fast flows and puns.
Never letting those around him outperform him either, Frisco has also proven to be a hit whilst featuring on other artists’ tracks, especially in the past 12 months. Take his verse on “Detox” from Skepta’s Konnichiwa, or his bars on “Amen” and “Don’t @ Me” from Jme’sIntegrity> and you have some of the best verses coming from those respective albums.
Frisco has certainly done his part this year to keep the scene going strong in this fresh era with a solid LP (and new club night The Den), just as he has since its inception, and he warrants more accolades for his unapologetic approach to music. He may be part of Boy Better Know, but Frisco is very much his own artist and gives everything he has on the microphone.
He has perhaps done it quieter than his illustrious BBK brethren, but his evolution has been just as amazing and refreshing for the UK’s grime scene.