Austin Rap’s Phranchyze Player

I like rap, I just don’t know much about it. In fact, while most of the ovrld staff is comprised of rap appreciators, none of us is really a connoisseur. On the surface, that might make Austin seem like the perfect place for us to run a music website, but there is a surprising amount of hip-hop in this city – surprising only to those who haven’t been paying attention.

In order to start getting a handle on this city’s rap offerings, we first covered Zeale and now we’re taking a look at Phranchyze. The self-proclaimed “Black Larry Bird,” Phranchyze has been bringing the South Austin swag for at least six years now and this year found himself on top of the city’s rap game with Best Hip-Hop/DJ honors at this year’s Austin Music Awards. Last month, he simultaneously dropped two new mixtapes, Gucci Phran and French Phrantana, which are serving as my Phran-troduction. (And last week they were panned by the venerable Daily Texan…)

These two mixes, available for free download on Phranchyze’s bandcamp page, span quite an array of styles and sounds. Not all of it immediately stands out, but there are definite highlights, the best of which is “Back on my Shit.” The closing track on French Phrantana is the best-produced one out of all 18 on the two tapes (production by Houston resident, but Austin native Kydd Jones), and Phran keeps the track moving for three and a half minutes without a hook. It’s the track where everything comes together. There are certainly flashes across the rest of the set – “Ghost Hard” has my favorite line, “You can suck my brain’s dick and leave my mind blown,” while “Comin Dahn” has the best hook. For all the greatness, though, there are songs like “Unstoppable” – the beat is an M.I.A. rip-off and doesn’t seem to fit with Phran’s phlow.

Back on My Shit Prod. By Kydd Jones

Word on the street is that Phranchyze has some killer battle chops, but we don’t see a lot of that through these songs. We do learn that he is an avid basketball fan, with football a close second. He also is a huge fan of Austin, referencing Austin’s notoriously brief rainstorms and name-checking places like Star Bar. He clearly has a lot of talent, so I wouldn’t be surprised if his live show blows this mixtape out of the water.

Grab any or all of these tracks and judge for yourself.