Published Jun 30, 2019Going into an eighth solo album is no small creative feat. For Toronto native Keysha Freshh, one-third of the buzzing rap trio the Sorority, the spark for her new EP Field Trip came after discovering executive producer Deion Bala's production via a sneaker-unboxing video.
"Field Trip is talking about a journey," she explains to Exclaim! in a new interview. "I'm taking you on a journey with this album... there's so much emotion, so many things that were happening at the time this project was being recorded."
The culmination of the connection is a concise, yet powerful seven-song body of work that — according to Keysha — was a family affair.
"I always try to make sure that I include my family in the process," she explains. Her little cousin DJ Kid Kreme produced "Buss Down" featuring Devontee, another cousin of hers shot promotional footage for lead single "Hero," and her brother (a senior graphic designer for Google in San Francisco) designed the artwork.
Keysha, whose cousin is the iconic Godfather of Canadian hip-hop, Maestro Fresh Wes, is not by any means a new jack, which lends to the project's highly matured, developed sound.
"My career started when I was like 16. My very first song [2010's 'Hollywood Fresh'], I was working with Doug E Fresh. I was working with legends and was signed to an independent label. I was in New York... I was doing stuff on a big level at a young age."
After slowing down her career pace, and going to school, she — like group mates Lex Leosis and Haviah Mighty — fell into the Sorority organically, which has proven to be (unilaterally) a phenomenal situation.
"[The Sorority] was a perfect time for something different to happen. The perfect time to experience something new, refreshing and different." After the success of their debut LP The Pledge, the group collectively agreed that in 2019 they would pursue solo projects — beginning with Haviah Mighty's 13th Floor, which was longlisted for the 2019 Polaris Prize.
With seven other releases and a newfound spotlight due to the Sorority's groundwork, Freshh approached Field Trip with a fresh perspective.
"I wanted this one to be different but still be bold," she notes.
One significant difference was her overall involvement in the creative process — even co-producing one of the project's brightest gems, "Calls," featuring Leila Dey.
"I was just super involved in the process," she says, "sitting right beside my producer, working on beats with him. I had the full creative control to make exactly what I wanted — right down to the instrumentation and features."
Fans of the Sorority can rest assured that their inevitable and, frankly (from an artistic perspective), necessary solo expressions aren't going to derail their collective work. Actually, it's the opposite: it's bolstering the brand.
"There is just such a crossover of fan bases now with all of us," she explains. "We all did such a great job on The Pledge. We joked that when we dropped our albums that they had to be better. It was a great challenge. And, in listening to all the solo work, we did our thing, if I do say so myself."
She adds, with a laugh, that, "It's already hyping people up for more Sorority stuff, which is exactly what we expected... so I think it's translating well."
Keysha Freshh's Field Trip is available now.