Music/Features

Friyie explains every track on his new EP, Ain’t Nothing Free (ANF)

"The only way I can make it all make sense, or put into perspective, is through the music."

March 27, 2019

In the Noisey feature length documentary 6ix Rising, Toronto rapper Friyie stands out as a clear-headed muse invested in unravelling the narrative of his neighborhood. Two years later, Friyie has become an indomitable force in Toronto’s rap scene and on his newest EP, Ain’t Nothing Free (ANF), he deals a calculated hand of sparse melodies anchored by a measured momentum. Where others prioritize pomp, he opts for a restrained approach to exuberance, where moral platitudes spill from ordinary experiences, and big proclamations receive a casual mention.

The fact that he describes his music as “free” should be far from a surprise. Top to bottom, ANF rings of a self-assured confidence that’s amplified by his ability to effortlessly shapeshift his intentions: like grappling with the many elevations and pitfalls of success, figuring out how to create an anthem for your own hype, or reconciling that those that brought you to the race might not be there to see you cross the finish line. Overlaid with a palpable metallic sheen, ANF  is an execution of the quintessential “Toronto sound” at a high caliber.

Now, in the middle Toronto’s most recent cultural renaissance, and rap’s heavy music moment, Friyie wants to be a new kind of rockstar while carving out an updated definition for a city that has a habit of getting consumed in its own mythology. Fresh off the release of Ain’t Nothing Free (ANF), the Toronto rapper breaks down each track on the album in his own words.

Elite Freestyle

“Creating this freestyle was just a vibe for me. I heard the beat and I just felt Elite. I think I’m the best at what I do and I felt this song was a way of expressing that.”

Rockstar (feat. Meeno Giinchy)

“This song was recorded about 2 years ago with a friend of mine by the name of Meeno. Recording the song was fun for me because I feel like the chemistry that we had that day in the studio was legendary.”

Hop In (feat. Roddy Ricch)

“This record was actually a solo song that was recorded a year ago and when I linked with Roddy. I knew exactly which record I wanted him on. Fortunately, he liked it too.”

Glizzy On Me

“With this record I wanted to stay away from the basic cliché references other artist use when it comes to the topic. I felt like I wanted to tell a more creative narrative of these things without coming off aggressive or violent.”

Ovechkin

“Truthfully, I was just rhyming words together and I wanted to know what rhymed with obsession, and intention, then Ovechkin came to mind and I ran with that concept of skating on “ice like Ovechkin.”

Stay Down (feat. Tory Lanez)

“I’d say this is a personal favourite for me mainly because it was the first beat I ever created. I was fortunate enough to have Tory Lanez collaborate with me on this record.”

Come and Get it

“This song also has a lot of personal attachment because this is the record that got attention from a lot of admirable people: Fat Joe, French Montana, and of course Floyd Maywheather himself.”

Millions

“This record is deep because the beat made me feel obligated to talk about the things that matter to me most — success, longevity, loyalty and reaching my goals.”

Open Liquor

“I wanted to dedicate a song to all the friends I lost along the way. It is discomforting when you lose people that you grew up with. I’ve had to come to terms with them not being here with me on this journey but I keep their legacy alive through the music.”

Superpowers (feat. Booggz)

“This song for me was very interesting. I’ve always been a fan of Booggz but I feel like with this record he stepped out his element and he changed the whole energy of the song and made it 10 times better.”

Metro Housing Baby

“This song speaks to adversity. It comes in all shapes and sizes, and it happens to the best of us. I made records like “Metro Housing Baby” to touch on coming from nothing to making a living for yourself and supporting loved ones. That’s what keeps me going.”

Make it Out (feat. F.I.L.A.)

“This record really brought me back to the days when we were kids running around in the neighbourhood. Growing up in Jane & Finch, we were exposed to things at an early age and that kind of forces you to grow up faster. I remember thinking to myself on many occasions, that I was always going to make it out.”

One Wax (feat. Northsidebenji)

“During the 3 year process of creating this tape, I experienced a lot of life changing things and sometimes I feel like if I spoke about this situations many people wouldn’t fully understand. The only way I can make it all make sense or put into perspective is through the music. The music I make is based on true events so “One Wax” is just one of many ways that I am speaking to my experiences.”

Who  Can I Trust

“Funny story. I literally heard the beat, recorded it, and had this song complete within 15 mins. I feel good about it because lot of people have told me that this is their favourite song. Its rewarding knowing that I have people who love my music even if it was given the least amount of effort. I think sometimes when you create records like this, they are the most authentic because you’re not overthinking the process.”

Kimora Lee Freestyle

“I made this song in Vegas in my hotel room, and it started by just kinda vibing and singing to myself until I picked “she break it down, a lot of bits” and I was building with that type of flow. It had a cool vibe to it that I felt women would be drawn to so, I wanted to make something for the ladies. That’s when I threw in “got a baddie and she look just like Kimora Lee…” and the song came alive from there.”

For The Win

“This is also another classic record. I recorded this 2 years ago and it’s been a fan favourite and a personal favourite so, I definitely wanted this record to be on the tape. When I made it, it was during a time where I had recently met Floyd and a lot of things were happening for me so, I wanted to do a song that was empowering, motivating especially for the kids from my area who are striving to follow their own dreams as well.”

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