His name is Fresco Kane, and he has all the swag of an up-and-coming rap star. As well he should. Fresco Kane just dropped a hot new mixtape December 4 and has captured the eyes and ears of Music Mogul Jermaine Dupri, who recently made Fresco Kane the latest addition to Dupri’s So So Def label. And believe it or not, a sentimental 1970s soft-rock song helped him break through.
Fresco Kane’s songs capture the classic bravado of St. Louis rap in the tradition of the many artists Dupri has discovered in the Gateway City — Nelly and Chingy among them — but according to Dupri, Kane brings his own distinct style and wordplay.
“All St. Louis artists have that something that stands out about them,” Dupri told me in an interview for Superhype. “Something fresh with a lot of slang and clever beats. They are students of what’s going on in the streets. But Fresco Kane has a confidence and feel for beats that is all his own.”
In a song like “Hot,” he combines his typically macho and confident word play with a rich production that includes random sound distortion, tumbling drum beats, a catchy synth overlay, and an angelic female vocal chorus that somehow works amid the aggressive ode to cruising in your car.
“Up in Hurr,” featuring Dupri, reprises the tumbling drum beats and smooth synth in a more melodious but raunchy exploration of the joys of sex and Ciroc. The song evokes “Hump Wit It,” a track produced by Dupri earlier this year for Kane and featuring Busta Rhymes.
Dupri met Kane in February after Kane’s manager Abe Givens arranged a meeting at Dupri’s SouthSide Studios in Atlanta.
Dupri’s first impressions: “He felt ready. I heard the music and knew he was someone I should be working with.”
What first caught Dupri’s ear was Kane’s use of a sample from, of all things, the soft-rock standard “I Go Crazy” by Paul Davis, in Kane’s song, “They Do.”
“I’ve always been thinking of sampling ‘I Go Crazy,'” Dupri says. “When I first heard the sample, I wondered, ‘What’s making Fresco Kane think like me? What triggered the use of that sample?” And beyond the music, Fresco Kane acted “like a mature-minded artist” from the start.
From there, a relationship was born.
According to Dupri, the two are collaborating on new music. “We work right off the top of the head,” Dupri says. “I create music for him to review, and he does the same for me. We might not even agree with what we are doing at first, but that’s how you start to get to know each other.”
Dupri adds, “Fresco Kane represents the younger generation of rap. It’s a whole different flow and mindset from the older generation. As I make more records that fit his mentality, he’s going to get better.”
In the song “Fresco Kane,” Kane name checks Jermaine Dupri (“Got me addicted to him like he’s cocaine”) and apologizes for the long wait. Apology accepted. Now bring us some more.