Written by: Peter Bonamici
If you are not already aware of Frank Leone's prominence in the Chicago rap scene, you are in for a delightful surprise. Leone has been lapping the competition for the past year with his unmatched lyrical acrobatics and self produced genre breaking beat selection. Leone, hailing from Monticello, Illinois, has recently moved to Chicago in the past year. Leone has already collaborated with well established Chicago talent such as Thelonious Martin, Vic Mensa, Monster Mike, Martin $ky, and many more.
Frank Leone left his initial mark on the Chicago rap scene back in 2012 with his EP entitled Deep Ocean. The seven track EP perfectly encaptures Frank's smooth but precise lyrics. Complimented with spacey synths, Deep Oceans proved to be a descent into the mind of Leone, encompassing an other-worldy vibe in which words cannot describe. Keeping the features local, an entourage of Chicago's rising stars accompanied Leone on this EP.
Taking on political issues such as disenfranchisement of government rule, Leone is no stranger to voicing his opinion. Starting off his Beware video with a brief disclaimer "Nobody is a leader/I know nothing at all/I'm often awfully offensive to the politically correct/expecting excellence under harsh light when a bright future not expected". Although brief, it still kept the videographers name off of the visual and lyrics caused the original website premiering it to pull it from it's lineup because they felt it was "too offensive". Leone states that "Artists are so afraid of saying real things in this day and age over fear of backlash or losing fans. Even the rappers claiming to speak "truth" only speak on the idea of truth...I'm a 19-year-old kid. I do very ignorant things...but I'm not an idiot, and I don't stay quiet when things aren't right" These extremely powerful lyrics hold as a prelude to his next endeavor, #EnterWild.
Frank Leone recently premiered his long teased single, WAR, off of his forthcoming project #EnterWild. The ominous didgeridoo is quickly dampened by the ever increasing dominance of the sharp snares. War gives off an extremely exotic vibe. Influences from indigenous Australian musician, David Blanasi, lends its distinct tribal sound to the song. If this is any indication of what the rest of #EnterWild will be like, then expect even more genius to come. Across The Earth, another single released from the album shares the same tribal influences but in a more optimistic nature. Sampling a speech from Charlie Chaplin, Leone shares his views that you choose your destiny as you grow up and nobody is responsible for your success/failure besides yourself.
Described as an Action/Adventure album, #EnterWild gives a sense of entering an uncharted desolate landscape alone. The backdrop to the album is Robert Allerton Park, a 1,517 acre landscape adjacent to the Sangamon River of Piatte County. Heavily inspired by the wilderness, Leone's album still holds much mystery to it. Tracks that have not met the #EnterWild standard of quality have been released as an EP entitled Bites, Bumps, & Scratches. None the less, the EP is nothing less than amazing and sets the bar extremely high for what is next from the young MC. While still lacking a definitive release date, #EnterWild is scheduled to drop sometime in February.