Local Rapper Toobe Fresco to Debut New Band at the Grog Shop

click to enlarge Local Rapper Toobe Fresco to Debut New Band at the Grog Shop
Kyra Jai Wells
One of the more prolific local artists, local rapper Toobe Fresco (formerly C-Ro Del Fresco) admits he’s not sure how many singles and mixtapes he’s released over the past several years.

At a time when local rappers come and go, Fresco, who grew up on Cleveland’s east side and started the hip-hop group 3 Kingz back in 2003, has been a consistent player on an ever-changing landscape.

Now, he’s just announced that he’ll debut his new band, the Living Sound, a group that includes Gawaun Willams, TJ Robinson and D'Gregory Richmond, on Sunday, Jan. 22, at the Grog Shop.

“This just started as a thought after I did a concert with my DJ’s band in August of 2016,” says Fresco. “It wasn’t my best, but I got a different reception to a band than a rapper on stage. It makes it feel like an actual event rather than seeing a rapper on stage. I wanted to develop my own band and from August to October of last year, I planned it and then we’ve been executing it ever since then. It’s been different to say the least. This is my first time ever doing anything with a band. I have to work with other musicians on a constant basis. It’s been rigorous but enjoyable.”

The band will play mostly play songs from last year's solo effort, Let Us Dream. The group hasn’t’ yet written new material, but Fresco hopes the band will back him on his next release.

“Two of my biggest influences are Chance the Rapper's the Social Experiment and Anderson Paak and the Free Nationals," says Fresco. "Those rappers have their bands there with them, and it’s such a different and amazing feel. That’s what I wanted to recreate.”

Billed as "Fresco and Friends," the Grog Shop show will feature opening acts the Scenic Route, Dre Mickel, Paris Laná, Okayché, LeBron Nelson and Darvon. Fresco picked all the accompanying acts.

“For my other shows, it was about pushing tickets and making sure bodies are there," he says. "For this show, I want to focus more on getting us together and playing. I want to get everyone there and show off the talent of everyone else on the bill. They all work so hard and deserve much more than what they’re getting. I wanted to give them a forum.”

The show starts at 8 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door.