Note: at the time of this writing, Miz was unavailable for an interview.
Around 1983, Brooklyn graffitti artist "Blas" was given the idea for the name Freshco by his homeboy "Delk" (TST). This was the perfect name for the up and coming popper/MC. "I would go to the Roxy in New York with DJ Professor Paul and pick up what I could from Fabel, Norm-Ski and "Boots" (Kool Kieth), as far as popping moves go. I was also taken to Rap concerts at Madison Square Garden where I would record the audio of performances by LL, Run-DMC, Fat Boys and Jeckyl & Hyde to cassette". In late 1988 Freshco was signed to Tommy Boy records as a solo artist, becoming label mates with De La Soul, Queen Latifah and Digital Underground. This was through Freshco's producer Jerry Calendar and A&R rep Dante Ross. Tommy Boy managed to convince Freshco that they could make one of his album filler songs "4 AT A TIME" at hit. Freshco would have preferred to put out a song that more so displayed his freestyle skills however Tommy Boy released 4 At A Time, without a video to support it. Freshco met the already Philly famous, DJ Miz at one of his first shows at Philly's YMCA West. At that point, they had no clue they would become partners in about a years time.
In early 1989, rapper Ice Cream Tee of Philly drops a record called "Come On" which featured DJ Miz. At the same time DJ Clark Kent (Brooklyn), was talking Freshco into entering the New Music Seminar's Battle for World Supremacy. He told Fresh that once they see what kind of skills he really has, he's guaranteed to win! As predicted, Freshco round by round rudely embarrassed every MC that he faced. The crowd at the Red Zone that night included many of Raps heavyweights who were left in awe at Freshco's flow. Fresh had them jumping out of their seats in amazement. DJ Miz also proceeded to keep up the "Philly has the best DJ's" tradition and rhythmically dismantled all opponents. Miz's skinny frame above the turntables was a vision of history in the making! How in the world was Philly breeding these world class DJs?
The songs We Don't Play & Ain't U Freshco? were produced (music created) by Miz. Fresh made sure of adding a third song to the 12 inch release called Now Ya Know. "When I first met Biggie, he said he and his boy use to listen to Now Ya know all the time... Biggie started rappin' the lyrics of his favorite parts of the song, right on the spot"!
In 1990, Freshco & Miz made more noise on the Ice Cube/Too Short tour where they shared a tour bus with the group Poor Righteous Teachers. The lineup also included a flat-top sporting Kid Rock (as the opening act), Ghetto Boyz, D Nice and Yo Yo. Freshco & Miz were true crowd pleasers who always included elements of freestylin', scratchin', dancing and crowd participation at every stadium they performed in. During this time the duo made several appearances on MTV and BET. Freshco made a point of never repeating the same rhyme he used in any previous interviews... he hated to see rappers do that. Freshco & Miz strived to represent true lyrical and DJ skills without the need for gimmicks or hype.
Seeking to capitalize on the pairing of the world championship title holders, Freshco & Miz met with up & comer Sean Puffy (Diddy) Combs at Uptown Records. Combs aimed to work with Fresh & Miz but his hands were tied due to the extremely low budget in the existing Tommy Boy agreement. In 1991, Freshco & Miz were released from their label after a year of insufficient promotion and lack of strong management. This was coupled with major delays on putting out an album to follow up the momentum of the world championship wins and the We Don't Play single.
Next, Freshco & Miz found themselves in the hands of Rush Management's Leor Choen. The talk sounded good but Leor's hands were more than full with EPMD and soon to be released, Redman... not to mention a host of other artists. Freshco & Miz were now left to come up with a new vision.
In late 1992, Cory Know-Da-Story (Fresh's longtime friend, dancer & Hip Hop partner), Miz and Freshco were joined by Jiv-Pos (aka Exotic) a martial arts Black Belt and up & coming producer. The four of them formed the group "the No!ze". Freshco, Miz (Mizery), Cory (Hard-Cor) and Jiv where also referred to as No!ze number 1, 2, 3 and 4, respectively. With Cory now as an additional rap compliment to Freshco, the No!ze made demos of music from their diverse Hip Hop imaginations. Although Miz welcomed the idea of the new foursome, Freshco struggled with accepting the change from three to four. Freshco and Jiv were the best of friends as martial artists and hang out buddies but Fresh showed a bit of resistance when it came to being music industry partners. The No!ze eventually broke up and went their separate ways however til this day they all remains good friends.
In 1993, Ski of Original Flavor kept his promise and called Freshco to rap on a collaboration song on their album Beyond Flavor. Freshco dropped a verse that included his "stutter-style" and verbal dynamics. Once Original Flavor's manager Damon Dash took a listen, he asked DJ Clark Kent to call Freshco right on the spot in order to sign Fresh to Damon Dash Entertainment/Rocafella. Damon worked hard to find Freshco and Jay-Z a record deal. There were many labels talking the talk but they would not go all the way to sign Freshco or Jay-Z (and Sauce Money). After doing plenty of hanging out and ripping random MCs on Damon's command, Freshco decided to bounce and get ready for the birth his first daughter, Tahbia.
Instead of going uptown to Damon's house everyday, Freshco begins to make beats himself with his newly acquired studio from his friend JBR. He forms S.C.I.L. Entertainment (Shawn Conrad's Ideas Lived) and drops a 3 song 12 inch on his own label Street Level Records in 1995. This release included the underground self-produced "Planet Brooklyn". Freshco continued with the name the No!ze with his boys Uzee, Red-Rum & B-Smooth and Cory. He then creates the track that he and Biggie Smalls rapped on during a freestyle session at DJ Enuff's house (Fresh's high school buddy) for New York's Hot 97 radio show.
Crazily enough, Freshco slowly become an audio engineer which was exactly what Miz focused on in the past. Fresh lands a position at Soundtrack New York mixing and editing sound for television and radio commercials. This was perfect for him as he wanted to make sure he was a father who could provide financially (health benefits included) for his new family.
What a surprise it was when Fresh's peers Jay-Z, LL, Busta Rhymes, Redman and others saw that MC Freshco was going the be their engineer or edit their singles. Fresh quickly turned out to be the go-to engineer for Def Jam's Kevin Lyles and Folayon Knight (check the editor credits on El Nino - Erick Sermon, Redman and Keith Murray)! "I wanted to get my life tight by getting some reliable endz and benefits. In hind sight I never dreamed rappers would be droppin' albums at 39 & 40 years old!... maybe I should have kept going" says Freshco.
By 1997 while many were asking Freshco when the next record was coming out, Fresh was busy in acting school, landing a television commercial for Redbull and rapping in a commercial Coca-Cola. By 2001, Fresh was working on purchasing his first house with his wife and pulling down a very healthy post audio engineer salary. "I wanted to make sure I was not a washed up and broke former rapper failure".
Freshco & Miz spoke with each other over the phone in late 2003. At the time Miz was working behind the scenes on The Eve show and DJing around town in California. Fresh believes that Miz would have been better off living in New York with the tremendous production skills Miz possesses! Before then Miz was also part of a Hip Hop play production that was touring the world and booked for months out.
In 2004 Freshco dropped a Holy Hip Hop album (iTunes Music Store under "Shawn Conrad") which as a bonding tool, he and his wife worked on together. "It was meant to be very simplistic and positive. It was fun to work on after such a long time away from music" says Fresh. Freshco finally made a myspace page and quickly began to learn about how much of an impact he has had as an artist. "Until I got on the web and searched my name, I didn't realize the mark I have made in Hip Hop... It's very humbling to see!"
Today Freshco lives in Atlanta with his family and as usual, is busy taking what ever he's currently into, to that advanced level as best he can. In 2007, Freshco & Miz released a teaser "white-label" CD of 10 un-released songs (from 1989 to 1992) on Ebay (check your iTunes Store for "The Greatest Flow On Earth). The world wide response of that limited release has prompted the possibility of a soon to be released new CD and full length documentary. Stay tuned!