Getting to know frenzy
Words: Amara Barrett-Willett
Photos: David Franco
I sat down and had a chat with Frenzy, we spoke politics, growing up in the hood and the Murder Mile. Frenzy is an insightful guy with a perspective so many of us have lived and seen, this man has so much more to offer us this year. Stay tuned.
Amara: So what are you most excited for to come out this year?
Frenzy: For myself probably my project, it's been a long time coming. I know most projects just come and go, but I think the projects that stick around are the ones that hold more meaning, more sentiment, and carry a part of history with it as well. For me I've worked on making sure that this project carries a piece of history where I'm from and live, that people can relate to.
Amara: What's the piece of history that you're trying to show?
Frenzy: The project's titled Murder Mile, I haven't released the title yet but yeah, I guess you've got it first. Murder Mile was what the government or the police called my high street back in 2001.There was seven murders within one mile, violence at the time was at an all-time high and they didn’t know how to deal with it.
Frenzy: There was a rave that was held on Clapton called Palace Pavilion, that was renowned for violence. It was the most popular rave in East London, maybe even in London at the time. There would be loads of violence there, still young people would still come out and do their thing. The government called it Murder Mile, almost like a deterrent to stop young people from continuing the violence. It’s quite similar to what's happening now where the death toll is, over 100 or whatever it was last year (119). They continue to count and number it, only showing us the negatives.
So, history repeats itself. To every young person, that's growing up in a deprived area, I want them to understand that these things don't change. History's going to repeat itself, it's for you to decide what part of history you want to play. Murder Mile's just literally me speaking about experiencing, even though I was very young, I still remember it. Experiencing living somewhere that's quite dangerous, and still being able to just focus on being myself, you know? It's also an education to the young man in a deprived area, almost like mentoring. Explicit ideas and thoughts, about friends being killed, friends being imprisoned, friends selling drugs. Being in close proximity to that while still never being swayed off my direction, if that makes sense.
Amara: No more political vibes, let’s get to this music. Bro Code is obviously a step away from Caesar. What's the inspiration for this song?
Frenzy: Bro Code is just loyalty to the base. I feel like again young black men are being divided, especially in Hackney. Hackney's so diverse but it's so small. You've got beef, like 30 seconds away in one street between two areas, beef for over 20, 30 years. I'm cool with like everyone. There's no one I really got politics with, but that’s because I haven't involved myself in nothing.
The way it's presented is black on black killing, but when it's black on black unity it isn't really celebrated too much. So, we celebrate bro code through lyrics, me just having fun on a record and just talking about bros and what we do. We chat about pengtings and just having fun. Just being young men, man. You know how young men are, man. Let’s be young men together.
Amara: I love it. On inspiration, your musical inspiration, where did that start? At home, what were you hearing? Did you hear Britney Spears and say, "Nah, that's not me, I want to do something better"?
Frenzy: I always say in 2003, I was in year six. I went to America that year and when I came back from America, with a New Era hat, the belt with my name on it, some diamonds in it, remember that? I remember going out there and seeing Jay Z's Black album and I bought the CD. That was a really major point for me, because when I listened to that album I started to realise, shit, this is a black man from the ends who has now sold his story via CD and is doing his thing. I remember coming back the same year and seeing Boy in da Corner. So, I saw young US black man and I saw a young UK black man. I thought it’s so wild how you can literally tell a story, make it fun, make it vivid, and change your life. I was so inspired on a whole different level.
I wrote my first lyric in year seven. We had changing rooms where we'd be spitting bars, all the mandem. Everyone had bars. Everything in Hackney, everyone's a rapper. Everyone's got music in them, it's just a natural thing for us.
So that's why there's loads of artists from Hackney that are doing well, because it's actually part of the culture. Then I finished school I was in a crew called SOS, Sound of the Streets, we were doing really well, we had Hackney on smash, five young boys, all from different schools. People loved us man, we had fans. Did shows like every other week, we were on our way, man, we were doing really well.
Once our interest changed, and we grew up a bit, everyone kind of like dissolved and moved to different things. Videography for some people, one of us carried on grime, I went to like hip hop, another person went into R&B. We all kind of split up, but everyone's still creative because it was really a creative journey. Once our interest changed, and we grew up a bit, everyone kind of like dissolved and moved to different things. Videography for some people, one of us carried on grime, I went to like hip hop, another person went into R&B. We all kind of split up, but everyone's still creative because it was really a creative journey.
Amara: What is the entry song of yours to anyone, if I'm a random person and I've never heard of you, and I say, "I would like to listen to your music," what would you tell me to listen to?
Frenzy: Moonlight is like for me such a big standpoint in where I was as a person, man. The energy on that song came from a friend of mine passing away. He was killed. The way he was killed was just very traumatic for me, because on the week he was killed I spoke to him. His lifestyle was different to mine, but he was my brother from school. I know he had a rough, difficult, journey man. Battling the law, wrongly accused of a crime that messed up his life. I remember I started writing a song, and when he died, I was able to write this song properly and finish it off. It's funny… I started writing the song with that mood anyway, but once he died the mood was just times 10. I don't know if I knew that something bad was going to happen, but I just wasn't feeling good at the time. I was frustrated with a lot of things, and a lot of people. Moonlight was just the birth of me getting back to me again. Just the rawness of it all. You know? Before that I made a few songs, but they all were friendly.
Amara: All right. Great. Great answer. Last question, you can't say yourself, who is the person you're most excited for this year music-wise?
Frenzy: Whose journey am I actually really proud of? UK wise. You know what, I'd say an artist called Rimzy. He's from my area, he's young and ambitious, he had a six year prison sentence and he's coming out in July. I know that he's going to do so well, he inspires me a lot actually because like I say sometimes prison makes you better. I feel like rather than me say like a celebrity that don't really matter, or say someone in London that is relevant and that everyone's speaking about them already, I think about someone who's in my network and is a powerful person, man. Powerful person. I'd say I'm excited for his journey because he's had a long layoff, so it's interesting to see how he comes out and takes over.