The disc jockey called out his name to come to the stage. It was Open Mic Night at the Askew Student Life Cinema as Nino Fricano, then freshman at Florida State, stepped up to the stage. There might have been twenty-five people in the crowd— probably less. Nevertheless, Nino performed like he was in front of a sold-out stadium.
Music’s biggest names had their starts on the smallest of stages. From Bob Dylan and Pink Floyd to Childish Gambino and MGMT, they all took root in college.
Sophomores Parker Keegan and Nino Fricano are trying to create a name for themselves in Tallahassee and beyond in the hip hop/ rap genre. Their unique mix of original beats produced by Parker (Soundcloud name: Parker Jazz Productions) and lyrics by Nino (Soundcloud name: Nino) are bringing fresh life to Florida State’s campus. In May, they debuted their first full mixtape The Confined Open Mind and continued to drop new singles throughout the summer.
However, during their freshman year, they struggled to find the time to make music together. And when they did make time to record, they scrapped to find a place to set up their heavy recording equipment. Most of the time they rent out a study room in Stozier Library or the College of Music at very odd hours. During a recording session starting at 10 pm, they wound up finding themselves there until 5 am.
Sometimes Strozier was not an option. One night they had to record in a Gilchrist Hall study room. They set it up like it was their own studio, but there was one problem: the air vent was “going crazy,” according to Parker. “We borrowed duct tape and taped a paper towel up there. We were so hot but we had to do it.”
Reigning from Sarasota, Florida, they had an instant connection when they met each other last fall. They fit together perfectly with Parker showing off his beats and Nino with his slick rhymes. They were “both exactly what they needed for each other” when they first met according to Nino. They learned quickly that they are not only a match in their musical style, but they are also a match in their work ethic.
“He torments himself with his rhymes, puts off all types of assignments just to grind on it,” said Parker on Nino, “And I’m doing the same damn thing.” What does Nino say about Parker? “To me, he’s far ahead of his time. He’s a visionary and has a willingness to try new things.”
It’s no secret that in music, especially in a highly critical hip hop world, aspiring artists need to keep working at their craft and producing new, quality music. Having fantastic work ethic is one thing, but where you go with that work ethic is what separates the truly great artists from the forgotten. Nino said that he wants to be the greatest rap artist of all time and show every person that’s ever laughed in his face that he’s the real deal.
This year Nino and Parker will be moving into their own apartment and will have more time and space to create their music, so it should be easier for the duo to record. Do they have what it takes to make it big time? Only time will decide that fate. In the mean time, listeners and students can sit back and enjoy their unique sounds and rhymes.
“When I write music, it’s like I’m not thinking about a single thing in the whole world,” Nino said, “and that’s why it’s beautiful to me.”