Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Ain't U Shawn Conrad?

Right now, Shawn Conrad, the MC formally known as Freshco is selling a CD of ten previously unreleased songs he recorded with DJ Miz on EBay. If you already know who he is, I'll cut right to the chase - it's dope! I believe the first track, "N All Dat" is better than anything they've ever released before. Here's what you get (taken right form his auction description): "These CD quality songs are directly from the original DAT tapes and studio pre-mixes! These songs span from 1989 to 1992. Some of these songs were created while Freshco & Miz was on tour with Ice Cube, Too $hort, Yo Yo, D-Nice, Kid Rock and Poor Righteous Teachers in 1990. Also, you get never before heard songs from "the No!ze" (Freshco, Miz, Cory and Jiv)."

If you're not as up on your hip-hop history as you really ought to be, Freshco was an upcoming battle MC and former break dancer from Philly who had a pretty decent self-produced 12" ("4 At a Time" b/w "Are You Ready") on Tommy Boy in 1989. That year, he entered and won the World Champion title at the New Music Seminar. And another Philly native, DJ Miz, won the World Champion DJ battle at the same event.. Tommy Boy Records decided to put them together; and they produced and released the classic 12" single "We Don't Play" b/w "Ain't U Frescho?" & "Now Ya Know" in 1990. They toured around, had a video, but sadly, despite critical raves and underground props, Tommy Boy apparently decided that Frescho & Miz lacked the commercial potential to merit release of their full-length album. So Freshco and Miz split up.

Frescho stuck it out in the game for a little while. You can hear him dropping a nice guest verse on Original Flavor's second album, Beyond Flavor, and a quick freestyle on DJ Enuff's Freestyle Collection white label as Freshco da Flowa, both in '93. Then he put out a fairly rare/ sought-after indie 12" in 1995, called "Bring the Funk Thru" b/w "Da Soundz" and "Planet Brooklyn" on Street Level Records. It was booted later, on Empire Records, as "DJ Premier Introduces Freshco," because he produced the one track, "Planet Brooklyn." And that was the last the hip-hop world heard of Freshco.

Until, that is... through the modern day miracle of the internet... he was discovered back on the scene in 2004! Putting aside the Frescho moniker, he put up a nice site at ShawnConrad.com to herald his new musical direction: "Revolutionary Urban Gospel Music!" [his exclamation point] As his bio said at the time, "In October 2003, God suddenly re-awoke Shawn’s rapping abilities. This time, Shawn would use his skills not for the benefit of himself but for the benefit of building God’s kingdom." He put out a full length album called Heaven Yeah! on Dvoted Records, which you can still buy new at CDBaby.com or TowerRecords.com.

Which brings us to today, with Freshco selling the aforementioned CDR on Ebay (just do a search for "Frescho") for $15. Be wary of the excessive shipping costs pork-barreled into the price tag ($10 + another $2 for "sales tax"), though, before you rush onto that BIN button and get blind-sided. But if you do decide to "support the artist" and pay the cost, I can assure you, you won't be disappointed in the music.

You may've noticed, if you clicked the link above, that his ShawnConrad.com site is still active... But it's no longer about his music (though you can still order Heaven Yes! off it). It's been remade into a blog and venue for his new career as a motivational speaker (or as he puts it, "Total Self Development for Life" from a "youthful counselor/speaker who has ... his wisdom filled messages coupled with his non-PhD approach"). It strikes me as being a bit weird, frankly, but maybe I'm just out of my element there.

Finally, you knew it was coming... the question of questions... does Frescho currently have a myspace? You bet he does! And so does DJ Miz! Woot!

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