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culture

Sound Advice: The Popcorn Tape by Raz Fresco and ChillxWill

A local MC and producer teams up with Washington-based rapper ChillxWill.

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Just a few months shy of his 18th birthday, local MC and producer Raz Fresco is already emerging as one of the rising young talents in the local hip-hop scene. As a rapper, he’s opened for acts like Method Man. As a producer, he’s provided beats for MCs like Mac Miller, Tyga, and Sir Michael Rocks.

On his new mixtape, The Popcorn Tape—which is a collaboration with Tacoma, Washington-based rapper ChillxWill—he showcases the skills (both on the mic and behind the boards) that have made him a force to be reckoned with.

The two MCs work by weaving a complex web of metaphors and references in every song. Whether they’re creating narratives on “chainSNATCHerz,” fantasizing about women on “shetheSHITyo,” or just straight-up bragging on “salmonILLa,” every song on the tape is stuffed with multi-layered punchlines that reference everything from Fox News to sneakers. (Sneaker references are particularly thick on the ground. The mixtape’s title is a reference to a mid ‘90s Air Jordan commercial.)

All the production also comes courtesy of Fresco. Raz covers a fair bit of sonic ground over the course of the 11-song tape. “RagTopz” is a tough, breakbeat-heavy head nodder, while “shetheSHITyo” is a laid back number that would make most of Raz’s ‘90s rap heroes proud. The highlight of the album, though, is the heavy, distorted, hypnotic “salmonILLa.” (You can listen to “salmonILLa” by clicking on the sample above.)

Raz Fresco is gifted as both a wordsmith and a beatmaker. Having an equally talented colleague like ChillxWill by his side only makes him push that much harder. Together, they make The Popcorn Tape one of the more entertaining free-to-web hip-hop releases of the past few months. (You can download it here.)

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