It is no old news that skiing and rap music go hand in hand. However, it is less common for skiers to chase a rap career. So, we had a chat with Fraser Sell, a skier from Hemel Hempstead in the UK, who is doing just that. Fraser was a well-known face on the UK ski scene, but when he wasn’t flexing his freestyle talent on the slope, you would often find him spitting some serious freestyle around a campfire, or linking an instrumental to the AUX in somebody’s car.
Is rapping like skiing in any way, if so how?
Ooo, jumping straight in like that. Hmm… Well, I guess both can be viewed as an art form for sure, and you have freestyle concepts in both, but otherwise no. I see skiing as sport and rapping as a musical art form (not to mention a completely different culture). However, if I'm being more open-minded creativity fuels both and style plays a major role if you want to stand out. I mean, I would personally hate to be one of those robots with the same style as the next man – with that said we’re all gonna have role models and inspirations that we take a pinch of salt from. Another open-minded similarity would be the limitless creations. Like when I write, the rhyme schemes, bars, or topics are endless and I see freestyle skiing like that too, but more in terms of tricks you can create or lines that you can pick. Both have infinite playgrounds let’s say, but yeah, skiing and rap are very different.
How did rap music influence your skiing?
Easy question. I started park skiing in 2012 and I saw hip-hop being present in the scene globally. I mean the steezy afterbang, the hip-hop in some of the pro's edits (shout out Simon Dumont) and also the baggy clothing. I even remember trying to sew the bottoms of some old tees together to try to create a tall T… It was far from steezy. Also, not to mention when The Snow Centre used to have a sick vibe on a Friday with D.W.A boys pumping out some hip-hop bangers.
Have you always aspired to be a rapper and where did you start?
I've always been into hip-hop, whether it was watching a couple of the music channels as a tiny kid, or hearing Mockingbird by Eminem for the first time. I even remember being 8 or 9 playing basketball on my ones trying to bust a couple of rhymes back then. I first started penning down bars when I was about 16. It was a day where I bunked off college (stay in school kids) and went down to my local skatepark, where I met one of the locals. He was spitting some heavy bars and I can't lie that was all it took. I dipped home that day, got out a note pad, penned down some of the worst bars I’ve ever written to a Dr.Dre beat and boom… Think it was something like ‘yoo my name is Fraser, I've got that cheese and I don’t mean Quavers, I'm spitting with some flavour, bars shoot like a snipper with lazer’ haha.
Why do you think rap music is such a common music genre amongst the skiing community?
As I previously mentioned, when I joined the scene everyone was just heavy into their hip-hop. I mean were you even a park rat if you didn’t rock the look of a wannabe gangster at some point? Nah but on a real, the vibe rap gives off is such a head bop, I always felt like it was in sync with my riding. You had tracks for mellow cruises or tracks that hype you up to send it. I mean anyone who knew me on The Snow Centre Friday sessions would know I used to send some stupid tricks, fall on my face and get up to try it again… Yep, that was rap that did that.
Growing up what was your biggest music inspiration and why?
This is going to sound so weird, because it's not rap - it's Oasis. Liam Gallagher man, utter legend! In terms of rap music in my early teen years, I was listening to American artists like ya Biggie, Pac, Eminem, Dr.Dre, Snoop Dogg and Nas. Although, as soon as I started listening to UK hip-hop, it was a game-changer. I mean as a hip-hop lover, discovering artists rapping about the UK and our culture was sick for me. Plus UK hip-hop (not UK rap, drill or grime) still has this authentic boom-bap sound, which you don’t find as much in the US scene anymore. As a quick example, I'm sure if some readers are into UKHH then you would know about The Four Owls, these guys still bring that raw boom-bap sound.
What was the number one track that would motivate you during a ski session and why?
Jheez… I couldn’t even give you a proper answer on this one. My motivational track would change weekly, as I was always discovering so much music. One I can remember would be Dre and Snoop's ‘Next Episode’, it was a catchy head bopper, especially when I just rolled in from the top of The Snow Centre car park.
What and who was your biggest skiing inspiration?
When I first started out, it was Tom Wallisch and the Line Travelling Circus. However, as soon as I discovered the Stept Production crew, jheez, what a game-changer for the way I saw skiing. Seeing those boys send it, take big hits, get shut down by the police. I was like yes, I can finally see skateboard culture in the ski scene and I thought that was heavy.
In February you released your first ever EP, Demons & Liquor. Can you tell us more about it?
The title ‘Demons and Liquor’ explains it really. I won't go into much detail, but various things happened in my life since I was active on the UK scene. You can figure some of those things out between the lines in my music. I won't lie, now I've got newer stronger material I don’t rate this EP as much now, but I guess that’s like anything when you progress. At the time I was stoked to get my first project out for sure. I've been writing for a while and anyone who has got drunk with me has heard some shell some flows down. Shout out Rem-Dawg and the Farmers Jam (a long running weekend ski festival in Norwich, England) heads around the campfire haha. A lot of people pushed me to release music, especially one of my homeboys. Sadly, we both shared the loss of a close friend who backed my music fully and that really stuck with me. Life is way too short. So, screw the judgement from anyone else and do what you love. I had some big battles with myself mentally, ran away traveling with a lot of problems. The main way I felt I could face them was through my music. That’s my therapy man.
What is next in the pipeline for your music?
I've got a lot of music coming out on all major music platforms. I'm mixing up the rap style also. I'm a lover of a lot of styles outside of hip-hop, so you can soon hear me on some grime beats and even some DNB. I just want to show people that I can do the whole hybrid rap style. I'm hip-hop to my core, but I still don’t wanna box myself into one genre, that’s just limiting yourself. I do plan to get some music videos out and get active doing live sets. I'm also building up a music brand/label with some homies, so go 'n' peep at ‘Deep Web Mafia’ (@deepwebmafia on the IG).
Can we look forward to future projects bringing your rap music and skiing together?
Erm… I'm sure I’ll find my way back to the ski scene one day. It's always been a big passion of mine, I was crazy about it since I was a kid, but I do have a lot of other passions too. I'm big into my skateboarding and design. I do have some bits I'm gonna work on with Row Emery for his Black Ice 3 video project, you might find me doing the music for that, so keep an eye out for that. It might be the first rider and musician collaboration, although I know Tanner Hall sort of did it with reggae, so we might just do it with rap haha.
Go check out my music on all major streaming platforms, look me up under ‘The True Frazzle’. Keep a close eye for my new lo-fi/hip-hop EP ‘Wanderlust’ dropping around the beginning of June. It's my favourite project that I’ve produced so far, and it hits those summertime vibes.
Check my Instagram to keep up to date with my movements @thetruefrazzle or head to linktr.ee/thetruefrazzle to explore my creations. Shout-out to Planks Clothing for the interview and anyone supporting my craft!
Stay gravy, stay wavy. Love!