Artist: English Frank
Title: Listen To Frank (Mixtape)
Favourite Tracks: The Shape Up, Envy, Forced To Ride, Southside Connection, Music’s My Sister, The Warm Up, Live My Life, F64
Early last year, maybe even toward the end of 2010, I started hearing stuff from this dude English Frank. Something seemed familiar about his tone and energy but I couldn’t immediately place where I recognised it from. Then it clicked, this was Frantic Frank of the Kraftsmen. I loosely knew Prodigal of the Kraftsmen and would buy bundles of the “Frantic Frank An Da Kraftsmen” album from him to sell, I never met Frank but always thought he sounded like a lunatic on tracks. He hasn’t lost that intensity and this mixtape is a great example of how he’s focused his content in the intervening years.
Listen To Frank is a compilation of most of Frank’s buzz building tracks from the past year with a handful of brand new tracks mixed in, including re-recordings of the bars used in his SBTV Warm Up and F64 spots, to keep his dedicated supporters happy.
The first track on the tape, ‘The Shape Up’, sets the tone for the entire project, blunt, passionately delivered, and well produced (by Preston Play), with a feature from another respectable artist, in this case Big Cakes.
A lot of artists put out tapes, and albums, with features on every song giving the impression they lack confidence in their ability to carry a track on their own. This isn’t the case on Listen To Frank with only 4 of the 14 tracks featuring other artists, and out of those 4, 2 of them are full blown posse tracks. The features Frank has decided to include are well respected by fans and artists alike including Mic Righteous, Jaja & Naja Soze, Logic, Malik MD7, G Frsh, Dru Blu, Nolay, Dot Rotten, and the previously mentioned Big Cakes, to name just a few. And as I said, the majority of these artists are spread out over two massive posse cuts, ‘Envy’ and ‘Southside Connection’.
‘Envy’ is an interesting track, produced by Red Skull, the concept isn’t new with each artist rapping negatively about themselves from their critics point of view but I don’t remember hearing it done on a track with 9 artists before. Frank adopts a Biggie ‘Gimme The Loot’ style approach to his verse taking on two personas and doing voices for both characters arguing back and forth about his road credentials before switching back to English Frank mode and addressing the doubters with his trademark ferocity and directness.
Most of Frank’s newer fans will know him from his appearances on SBTV, having done a Warm Up Session and an F64 which now seems to be removed from the SBTV channel, so it was a great idea to re-record and clean them up for the mixtape.
My favourite track on the tape is ‘Music’s My Sister’, produced by Alex Breadman. ‘Music’s My Sister’ is Frank’s love letter to music, detailing his introduction to HipHop, his influences, how important he regards his musical legacy, his general passion and respect for what he does, and his utter disdain for those who disrespect it by releasing shit music.
“Music’s my Sister and I love her/ I’m getting mad ‘cos all these little dickheads tryna hug her// Keep talking shit to my sister Im’a slug ya/ And if you ever cheat on my sister Im’a buck ya//”
Overall Listen To Frank is a very good collection of English Frank’s music to date although I would have liked maybe 3 or 4 more unheard tracks to beef it up a bit as a reward to his long time supporters. Having said that, it’s a free download and with his work rate being what it is it won’t be long until we hear more from English Frank and I doubt he will leave us waiting too much longer for his full length album.
Tracklisting and download link below.
01. The Shape Up (Feat. Big Cakes) (Prod. By Preston Play)
02. Envy (Feat. Mic Righteous, Jaja Soze, Durrty Goods, Squeeks, Logic, Malik, TK & Exo) (Prod. By Red Skull)
03. Cant See Me (Prod. By Dego Brown)
04. Forced To Ride (Feat. Cashtastic & Don Jaga) (Prod. By Zee)
05. In A Minute (Prod. By Zee)
06. Big Man Thing (Prod. By Dego Brown)
07. Southside Connection (Feat. Dot Rotten, Mic Righteous, Jaja Soze, G Frsh, Youngs Tef, Dru Blu, Timbar, Nolay, Pak-Man, Shaun White, Trips & Naja Soze) (Prod. By Preston Play)
08. Music’s My Sister (Prod. By Alex Breadman)
09. The Warm Up (Prod. By Alex Breadman)
10. Live My Life (Prod. By Hitman)
11. 100 Bars Of Truth 2 (Prod. By Preston Play)
12. F64 (Prod. By Alex Breadman)
13. A Message
14. 100 Bars Of Truth 1