Wrap Up And Watch Out: Franklyn
Franklyn Addo, a young aficionado straight from the heart of east London, has a story perhaps more sellable than the general populous of young people. After a decision to go to London’s LSE over the renowned Cambridge institution, he ignited talk within the tabloid sector and was wrongly labelled as a "young gangster rapper" by a number of well-known publications...
The Guardian picked up on it all and allowed the Hackney resident to voice his own thoughts on the whole saga, resulting in a return of over 400 comments from contributors and general readers alike. Add to his journalistic exploits a burgeoning adventure into music, it’s fair to say that Franklyn has experienced a little more than your average, inventive teen.
The Wrap Up: Nice to meet you, Franklyn. How have you been?
Franklyn: I’m good, man. I work over at this place called Peter Jones in Sloane Square, it’s just like John Lewis, and that’s just my retail job to pay for all this music stuff, the music videos and what not, it’s all out of my own pocket so I’ve been working for that. I’m also at uni now, doing sociology at LSE. Apart from that, I’m just working on the second mixtape and trying to do more writing.
TWU: How did you get into music?
Franklyn: Music, to me, was always there. I always listened to it, from indie stuff to rap, from an early age. I started writing lyrics when I was about 11, but never took it too seriously. I then invested in a little mini studio when I was in Year 9 and made my first mix project with no help. I then showed it to an artist called Victizzle and, since then, he kept on inviting me to the studio, and that’s when I started to take it a bit more seriously – mainly through Victizzle. I'm not going to lie and tell the cliché story of me always wanting to get into music, because it’s not even like that. I've always been an academic person over being a music man, but slowly I've got more attached with the music and it’s only now that I'm considering it as more of a career, whereas before it was just more of a little hobby.
TWU: Was the importance of being academic drilled into you when you were young?
Franklyn: Definitely. You know how the African parents can be, it was punishment (laughs). But yeah, it’s always been like that and not going to uni was never an option.
TWU: So how did the whole saga with the Guardian and Oxbridge come about?
Franklyn: Basically, I got an offer from Cambridge to study PPS (politics, psychology and sociology) and I got an offer from LSE to study sociology. At that time, I was a bit confused about what to do because, obviously, Cambridge has the name, yet LSE is still a very good university but less known than Cambridge. So, I had to consider the whole thing properly and my main reason behind choosing LSE was because of what I wanted to study and I wanted to stay in London because it helps with all the music stuff. All the networking events are in London, my producer is in London and it just seemed more helpful to stay. The Guardian got in contact because it was published in the Metro, front page of The Voice and a few other newspapers, such as the Times and Daily Mail, as a 'gangster rapper turns down Cambridge because it has no music scene.' The Guardian wanted to know the true story, so they asked me to write an article, and that’s how I started writing for them. The other articles were a joke, though. How can they call me a gangster rapper? That was my first real encounter with how fake those stories can be and I thought that if I was going to read the news, I'm going to have to do it from a reputable source, because papers like The Sun are just rubbish. I just laughed it off.
TWU: It’s pretty interesting that it’s not just newspapers like The Sun that made stupid comments like that, but even titles like the Daily Mail and the Times…
Franklyn: The thing is, I didn’t even know it was going to be in there, I just got told about it all. Things like those just make me laugh. My mum went out and bought the hard copies of all of them just to see what they were all saying.
TWU: So what then made you want to get into journalism? That can’t have been the best introduction…
Franklyn: With the Guardian, they asked me to do that first article and it got over 400 comments, which they said was quite rare and, aside from that, they liked my writing style. Before that, I had never considered journalism but, in terms of the academic side, English was always one of my favourite subjects from school and I wrote quite elaborately as a child. I thought that if the Guardian are offering such an opportunity and they’re gonna carry on asking me to write stuff – for example, the Hackney Gazette started hollering about doing stuff about the riots – I thought it was quite a feasible avenue. Because I'm quite opinionated anyway, and I have a lot to say and can write, it only made sense for me to comment when I could, and so I thought journalism was an interesting outlet for me to get my point across whilst staying in touch with the news. Music and arts journalism, because I'm into both, seemed like the perfect thing to get into. That’s what drove me. At the moment, I’m pursuing some potential blogging work at LinkUpTV, so hopefully that manifests into something as well.
TWU: Last but not least, let’s talk about your mixtapes and what you have planned for the future…
Franklyn: I’ve got two mixtapes out so far. The first one is the official one, ‘Just Being Frank’. The name is obviously a pun on my name, Franklyn. That had ten tracks on it and was executively produced by Victizzle, and is currently on something like 5,000 downloads at the moment. That came out last year, around the same time in December. That’s when I started to put my name out there on the scene, if you want to put it like that. That’s when I first came out. Then I released ‘The Re-Mixtape’, which also had ten tracks on it, and I wrote and recorded that all in 24 hours. That was just me being silly and seeing how much I could write and record in one night. Now, though, I’m working on the next official release, ‘Just Being Frank 2’. With that release, I want to get it out properly by working with a PR and by getting a couple of other influential people on board to make sure that it gets out to as many people as possible, and to keep the snowball effect rolling. With my music, I feel like I have a lot to say and it’s just like journalism on beats. I feel as though I have a lot to comment about and a lot to say that our generation needs to hear, so I need to make sure that ‘Just Being Frank 2’ gets out there. Right now, I’m just working hard in the studio with Victizzle and other artists, such as Alfa Mist, planning the whole marketing for it when it does eventually drop.
Stay up to date with Franklyn on Twitter – www.twitter.com/FranklynMusic
Words: Errol Anderson (@Elzan1)
Online editing: Joseph 'JP' Patterson (@Jpizzledizzle)