By now we can all agree that Chicago’s SaveMoney collective is without a doubt a money making machine spewing out talent at an incomparable rate. This year alone we’ve witnessed the release of Joey Purp’s acclaimed second solo mixtape iiiDrops, Towkio’s Community Service 2, Vic Mensa’s politically fueled manifesto There’s Alot Going On, and Chance’s lionized Coloring Book.
Following this line of bangers comes Brian Fresco, who is without a doubt on his way to cementing his own name on everyone’s radar. The young MC has been hard at work since the rise of the creative collective back in 2012, having released two mixtapes since then (Mafioso, Soulmoney). However, it is his latest project Casanova that will undoubtedly propel the spitter outside of the confines of his regional stature and position him at the forefront of Chicago’s wealthy pool of talent.
Casanova is a 13-track collection that ranges in sound and technique. Every track sees Fresco trying something new, from the heart-moving and piano driven “Dandelion”, to the two-fisted drill infused “Bussin” and candid introspective family ode “Fam”. Let’s not forget the summer hit “Higher”, featuring Chance the Rapper and Canadian synth pop duo Blue Hawaii, and also R&B burner “Lonely” featuring BJ the Chicago Kid and Bjrknc.
There’s an endless range of lyric and sonic skill here and truly a track for each and every mood. Unlike his prior releases, Casanova finds Fresco comfortable being himself in full fledged non-genre binding glory.
We had a chance to speak with Fresco about his music and inspirations. Get to know him a bit better with our Q&A and listen to his latest release Casanova below.
How and when did you start rapping and making music?
Brian Fresco: I started making music when I was in grade school with my friends – Kami of Leather Chords being one of them. That’s also when I started to write my first songs.
What’s the meaning behind the title of your latest project, Casanova?
The urban meaning of a “Casanova” is a smooth charmer that has a knack for gaining the attention of women. I think I wanted to charm the world and gain the attention of women as well, because hey who doesn’t love women!
What are some of the themes you tackle on Casanova?
The project was made from pure emotion. Each song I made started with a different emotion and strategy. I treated each song like a baby almost.
You’ve releases a few projects in the past, namely Mafioso (2013) and Soulmoney (2014). How is Casanova different from your past releases?
Casanova is different because of how comfortable I was being me and doing what I like and not putting any genre boundaries on myself. I’m just a grown man now and it shows.
“Higher” is definitely a banger and I’ll no doubt have it on repeat all summer! Tell us how the the track come about.
“Higher” was made from scratch by me and my homie Trevor $ and Alex of Blue Hawaii. After we made the first fourth of the song, we knew it was going to be something big. Then we got Raf to lay her beautiful voice and Chance took us home with the his terrific verse. “Higher” definitely seems to be a lot of people’s new favorite song now.
How has growing up in Chicago helped define your sound?
I probably wouldn’t even be the man I am today let alone the artist I am if it weren’t for Chicago. I’ve been everywhere in this city, but I’m from the projects. Everything I’ve seen and experienced bleeds through my music and shows in my versatility.
You’ve come up surrounded by a variety of different sounds and talent being part of Save Money. How has being part of the collective helped define your own style?
It’s like a big friendly competition, but we all love each other and push each other. We’ve definitely helped shape the many different sounds that fit each individual person and I think it’s fun that way.
What are some non-musical things that end up inspiring your music?
My son Zion and the problems I see everyday. I feel like my voice can help eventually.
What’s on the agenda for the rest of 2016?
We’re not stopping. This train is still running and I’m still in the studio as much as I was when I was recording Casanova. I’m also traveling and showcasing my talent to the rest of the country and going national and maybe even international with this project.
Finally, tell us one thing most people wouldn’t know about you.
Most people wouldn’t know that I went through a lot of the things just by looking at me. Also, they probably wouldn’t think that my music sounds the way it does.