Hailing from Dallas, Texas; Freddie Bruno is a name not familiar to most, however his unique style and knack for producing consistent lyrical gems have drawn him some modest attention. Signed to Uprok Records, like most independent artists, not a lot is known about Freddie Bruno, which is evident through his fist full length album "The Ballpoint Composer".
The main aspect of Freddie Bruno's character that stands out is his lyricism. Abstract at times, but simple enough to understand, Freddie comes off as your typical underground emcee but with a lot more talent in the lyrical department. Many of his verses are simply outstanding; put together so well you'll have to listen to them numerous times just to get the picture. As I mentioned, he can come off very abstract at times, but not to the likes of EL-P or Aesop Rock where it is unclear of anything they are saying. Lyrically I was quite pleased with "The Ballpoint Composer" as I have a soft spot in my heart for those that try and do more with their lyricism than just get by. Probably the finest example of this comes with the track "Miss Bonita". While not entirely creative or original, its concept is like most that have come before, a comparison between Hip-Hop and a relationship with a woman. However, Freddie pulls it off nicely, making it fresh even though it's been done numerous times.
The best aspect of "The Ballpoint Composer" besides its lyrical content is the album's concepts. "Not For Profit" depicts F.B.'s loyalty to the art of Hip-Hop and the struggles involved, especially being an independent artist. And "Comp USA" isn't about the store, but the world of Internet emcees and their jacking of Bruno's production. But like all artists sometimes Freddie just puts out tracks that just intended to get your neck moving as seen on "Freddie B-R-U-Know" and "Null & Void" featuring Lorca's Black Eye.
However, one big flaw brings "The Ballpoint Composer" down from being a very satisfying album. Production wise is where the album falls in trouble, as most of the production is stale and boring. With Freddie's solid lyricism already established, great production is a must if he wants to take his career to the next level. Unfortunately, most of the production on "The Ballpoint Composer" fails to capture the same essence as Freddie does on the mic. Harry Krum produces most of the album, however his production doesn't really grasp any feeling or emotion that is so crucial when trying to make good songs. Most of the production on the album is very similar throughout its entirety, making the album move very slow and boring at times. The production is very mellow with a smooth undertone of Jazz, but its almost too soft at times. Tracks like "Updated & Still Hated", "Coast Of Arms", "Hall Minor" and "Occupational Therapy" all suffer from these problems. At times you almost wish the similarities would stop in the production field and you could just get something new to hear. It would be very interesting to hear Bruno spit over some more up-tempo production or even better some production with soul. "Last Dance" is the only track that comes close to this, which utilizes a nice sample that puts some soul into what is mostly dull production. If Freddie Bruno could duplicate production like this, or come forth with more variety, the future could be bright for him.
During "The Ballpoint Composer" we get to see what Freddie Bruno is capable of doing on the mic as an emcee. However, as stated in the opening paragraph, after listening to the album you really don't get a glimpse of who Freddie Bruno is as a man. In the future some more intimate looks inside his life would definitely open the listener up to who Freddie Bruno is, which would help develop attachment between emcee and listener. What makes great emcees so successful is their ability to capture an essence and translate that into great music. It looks like Freddie still has to find that essence, but he is definitely on the right track. With some better production next time around we could see some vast improvements. Overall, if you are a fan of great lyricism and a b-boy persona, and are equipped with an open mind I suggest you look into Freddie Bruno's "The Ballpoint Composer". For more info on Freddie Bruno visit Uprok Records.