Sometimes the table needs shaking, especially as an outsider in a game where authenticity is sometimes limited due to pressures to conform. Real, refreshing and raw, Jersey’s see.francis aka Casmir Francis’ reluctance to be anything other than his own reflection adds to his allure in a sport where appearance and persona means almost as much as the art. Coming from the same soil as a fair share of ground-breaking artists, including Naughty by Nature, Joe Budden, Rah Digga, Queen Latifah, Redman and a number of Jersey Club and battle rap titans, Francis arrived on the scene in 2013, when he dropped his Fiat Lux project. He’s since continued to drop heat and 4MP got a chance to chop it up with him about his music, the state of hip hop & more.
4MP Bobby: How long have you been rapping and when did you know you wanted to turn music into a career?
see.francis: 2013-14 forreal, when I dropped my Fiat Lux project. I started putting more time into music instead of being outside doing stupid shit and getting in trouble. I started putting everything on the backburner and putting my music forward around 2013.
4MP Bobby: When’d you fall in love with music, do you remember the moment?
see.francis: I come from a musical family and shit, it’s always been around. My grandmother used to put me on all types of shit, she was playing a lot of shit that wasn’t even in english, a lot of calypso records and some weird opera shit. I just got introduced to a little bit of everything, I got adrenaline, I like to move around. I know more entertainers in my family then 9 to 5, idk.
4MP Bobby: Jersey’s known for its battle rap and club music. Do you plan on trying to change the Garden State’s perception and how does being from Jersey influence your hustle?
see.francis: Man I don’t want to change it, I don’t plan on changing it, I just plan on doing me. Jersey is known for not giving a fuck and doing what we do. I don’t make Jersey club music, but I get it it’s part of my home, I don’t want to change it all.
It makes me say Jersey as many times as possible. My perception is I gotta go hard for Jersey because I feel like niggas don’t. I gotta go as hard as I can
4MP Bobby: I grew up a huge fan of Steve Francis, your name’s hella similar, anything to that?
see.francis: Hahaha naw man, my name is Casmir Francis, it’s my family name, everyone’s got it. Every time I need to keep my feet on ground, I can see the past and see francis, see the present and see francis and see the future and see francis. I wanted to be myself I wanted to be who I am
4MP Bobby: Growing up, who did you look up to musically, who influenced your style?
see.francis: My Uncle Keith. He was a local artist n shit, he’s from Queens. He took me to the store to get my first Redman album, he was into rap forreal. Musically, Redman was beautiful to me. H was like a hero to me, it was like I could go to the store and get dutches with him and all of a sudden he’s on Tv. And Busta Rhymes, the first time I heard that shit, I just fell in love with it.
4MP Bobby: What have you learned so far about the industry?
see.francis: You’ve got to make sure that you take care of yourself, you gotta make sure you literally take care of yourself. You never want to feel like you have to do something to be ok, I’m willing to turn something down if it’s not for me. You gotta have people around you that care about you being ok. When you the outside guy, niggas will treat you as such, you have to make sure you look out for you.
4MP Bobby: Out of your catalog, what’s your favorite song?
see.francis: The song “Room Full of Hoes.” I started to really figure it out with this record. I made the beat and it seems simple, but I was really putting shit together, like bass and keys, that’s when it really clicked and I was able to translate everything from my head and make it click.
4MP Bobby: What’s your creative process like, how do you go about crafting a song?
see.francis: It’s never one traditional way. I don’t have a setup, it’s whenever for me. It can be random or I can hear something in passing, and I’ll drop things and work. My process is sporadic and all over the place.
4MP Bobby: Where do you see yourself in five years?
see.francis: I’m just trying to grow. I’m not really into that cliche shit, oh I want to do this, I’m going to be here. It’s about progression, that’s what you’re going for. Everything is one step at a time. Right now, I’m just trying to make it through the day.
4MP Bobby: What do you bring to the game that other rappers can’t and what do you want fans to think of whenever your name comes up.
see.francis: I’m just me. I’m not worried about checking no boxes, I checked them all by myself. Music can be an open dialogue with people, I want to give myself, my views, my vision of things and share it with people.
4MP Bobby: Thoughts on the current state of Hip Hop?
see.francis: I think it’s like it’s always been. Whatever you want you can have it. It’s nothing different. There’s no fucking rules and that was the whole birth of hip hop. We didn’t care, we just took what we what we could get our hands on and didn't give a fuck how anybody felt. Hip Hop was anybody, anything, how you want to do it. If you’re looking for an artist that fits what you like, you can find him, just like you’ve always been able to.