Studio session: NWC hooper finding the beat

Posted 10/29/20

When Jaren Fritz isn’t on the basketball court, there’s a good chance he’s in the studio.

In addition to being a sophomore on Northwest College’s men’s basketball …

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Studio session: NWC hooper finding the beat


When Jaren Fritz isn’t on the basketball court, there’s a good chance he’s in the studio.

In addition to being a sophomore on Northwest College’s men’s basketball team, Fritz also has a passion for rapping. Fritz, who goes by the moniker “J-Frizzle,” has been at this craft since seventh grade.

“I just started making some music and rapping,” Fritz said. “I don’t know how it happened. It’s crazy.”

Fritz started listening to hip-hop regularly as a young teenager in Glenrock, and his early passion for music can be traced back to the admiration of one of his favorite artists: Lil Dicky. Dicky, who has become a prominent rapper due to his comedic style of music and unconventional flows, shares a similar heritage with Fritz, and that inspired him to hit the studio at an early age.

“I’m Jewish, and he’s just another Jewish dude,” Fritz said. “I was like, ‘Oh yeah, I can do that, too.’”

Fast forward to 2020, and the college sophomore has nearly a dozen tracks currently available for listening on SoundCloud. Every song has earned thousands of views on the streaming service, and his song titled “Tupperware” had more than 32,000 plays as of this month.

As Fritz made his way through high school, his music gained a strong following from Wyomingites. Anywhere he’d go, people recognized him as “the guy who raps.”

“I’ll go to random cities and people will just call me J-Frizzle,” Fritz said. “They played it at state basketball, regional basketball. Every track meet I pulled up to, they always played it. It’s fun.”

The connection between basketball and rap is no secret — several of today’s NBA stars have released their own tracks.

Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard, known by his stage name Dame D.O.L.L.A, has almost a million monthly listeners on Spotify and has collaborated with the likes of Lil Wayne, Snoop Dogg and G-Eazy. Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball has dropped dozens of tracks, including several alongside former NBA journeyman Lance Stephenson.

Similar to those hoopers, Fritz said he thinks his basketball background has contributed to some of his musical success. He is a recent transfer from Sheridan College, playing in 19 games for the Generals last year, before the institution opted to shut down its athletic programs. Fritz previously played four years of varsity basketball for Glenrock High School.

“I think it’s a combination of me being in sports headlines around here and that I also have raps,” he said. “The whole state of Wyoming is pretty much behind it. I just love the support and the fans.”

Even with the hectic load of being a college student-athlete, Fritz makes time to lay down verses regularly. He has a studio set up in his dorm room, and when he isn’t in class or getting shots up at Cabre Gym, he’s often recording new material.

Most of his raps never get released, but Fritz enjoys working with new flows and coming up with clever lyrics just for fun, so much so that his teammates often want to get in on these studio sessions.

“They always want to hop in the studio,” Fritz said. “When I’m done here, we’ll sometimes just go to the studio and hang out.”

Just as his teammates respect his abilities on the court, most of Fritz’s peers have grown fond of his abilities behind the microphone.

“He spits mad bars, and he’s really good,” freshman Corben Martin said.

Sophomore Jacob Schilder added, “He’s pretty much Jack Harlow.” (Harlow reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 earlier this year with his rap single, “WHATS POPPIN.”)

Others, however, are more skeptical.

“He thinks he’s a rapper but he’s not,” joked Hayden Peterson, a guard who transferred from Sheridan College with Fritz.

Fritz has sustained success in both basketball and hip-hop. But it’s hard to say which he’s better at.

“That’s heavily debated,” Fritz said. “I didn’t know I was going to play college basketball, so on my senior slideshow, I said that I was going to sneak my way into the music industry. It’s kind of 50-50 right now.”

Martin weighed in, saying, “He’s good at both.”

As a sophomore in college, Fritz has time to weigh his future plans.

While at Sheridan, Fritz served as the Generals’ digital-media content creator, making graphics and other artwork for the school and its now-folded athletic department. He said that one day he’d be interested in working in the industry for an NBA or NBA G-League team.

But Fritz isn’t letting go of his rap dreams. His most recent track, titled “Ace of Spades,” dropped over the summer and features one of his friends from Torrington. Fritz also plans to release a song alongside Martin in the near future.

Fritz has options. With his experience and skills, Fritz will have the chance to pursue a variety of different avenues. But in the meantime, he has no plans of slowing down in the studio.

“We’ll see where it ends up,” Fritz said. “Stay tuned for more. Shoutout to everyone who keeps telling me to release tracks.”