Growing up on the East side of Cleveland, local rapper Toobe Fresco (formerly C-Ro Del Fresco) listened to music all day long as a youth. When he was 10, he wrote his first song and in seventh grade started 3 Kingz, a hip-hop group.
In 2009, he issued first release, Mr. Del-Fresco, and he then put out the Forget Me Not mixtape, the first of his projects to be featured on Livemixtapes, a website devoted to breaking new rappers. Since then, he's put out two more mixtapes and started to pick up some traction with his 2011 EP Visible Thoughts, which received favorable reviews from the local press.
Now, the prolific rapper has just released Let Us Dream, an album of hip-hop and R&B tunes that reflect his positive attitude and spirituality. The undulating first single, "Price Tag," features old school synths and hiccuping vocals as Fresco raps, "gotta learn to put a value upon your life/cause money ain't the only value so think twice."
“Kendrick Lamar’s ‘Alright’ was a big inspiration for ‘Price Tag,’" he says. "I like the sound of it and I thought it would be cool to achieve something like that. I just like the concept of it. It's about morals and values and what people see as their values."
Fresco says he embraces positivity because he wants his music to work as "mood music."
"Honestly, there’s nothing out right now that is positive," he says. "You have people like Chance the Rapper but there's not enough of that out there. That’s my goal is to help do that. When you listen to Drake and Lil' Wayne and everything that’s out right now, it’s more just about living the life and that’s cool. In some of my lyrics I boast a little but not in an entire song or project. That's too much. I’m trying to be more relatable.”
He celebrates the CD's release with a show at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 12, at the Grog Shop.
Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected].