Fredo’s name has regularly been on the tips of tongues of fans, music industry professionals, and music critics alike for the last twelve months. A flourishing UK Rap scene has proven to be the ideal platform for him to step on to and showcase his talent. Whilst it is true that doors have been opened for artists like him to walk through, it doesn’t change the fact that, given the financial opportunity the scene now holds for budding artists, competition is more fierce than it ever has been. Different strands of Rap have now been invented, most notably the ‘Afro-swing’ genre which is dominating the charts. When your brand of Rap possesses the harsh imagery of drugs, violence and pain, which is not hidden by the veneer of a bubbly instrumental suitable for radio, it can be difficult to find success in the music world. However Fredo, whose life experience has made him unflappable in the face of pressure, has not conformed in the slightest with the release of his highly anticipated mixtape, ‘Tables Turn’. Fresh off hood anthems, ‘Like That’ and ‘Change’, the latter of which is the finale of the tape, Fredo has released one of the projects of the year so far, and it’s as uncompromising as all of his previous material.
He never strays far from the content we are used to hearing from him. The ‘trapping’ lifestyle that is so embedded within him, is further accentuated on the tracks throughout, yet his depiction of personal events translate into absolute authenticity to any listener. Whilst there are lyrics alluding to decadence, violence and chauvinism, you gain an understanding of what leads to his mindset, embodied by lines like “when you grew up in hell, of course you’re gonna sin”.
His honesty is unbounded, especially on West Coast inspired ‘Boom Boom’, a track where his aggression is heightened, and flow is relentless. His openness is one of his greatest attributes, but it does make the listener question whether he reveals too much in his music. Regardless, whilst he speaks on certain incidents, he also shows his loyalty to his friends, most notably on ‘Never’, mentioning Mystro who incidentally collaborates with him on the tape.
The tape as a whole also shows his complex relationship with women. Whilst he doesn’t class girls as being high up on his list of priorities, the opposite is the case when speaking on his bond with his mother. Lyrics like “I’m sinning while my mummy’s praying for me” and “shout out my mum, wrote them letters when I went to jail, everytime”, shows that despite his lifestyle, he cares deeply of what she thinks of him. He also manages to show a rare affection and a romantic side on ‘Tell Me’, a track akin to being the UK’s ‘21 Questions’.
The addictive, vocal sampled melody of ‘Tell Me’, is just one of the many excellent instrumentals that producer, JB, contributes to the project. His sound is diverse, from the menacing bassline and high-pitched synths of ‘Rappin and Trappin’ and wonderful, spaced out arrangements on ‘Again’, to the nostalgic and soulful feel of ‘Tables Turn’, sampling Loose Ends’ ‘Can’t Stop The Rain’. The production of Beat Boss and C-Figz is also noteworthy, who bless the tape with beats for ‘Playin for Keeps’, featuring the exceptionally talented Asco, and the aforementioned ‘Change’, which has set clubs and headphones alight respectively.
In addition to Asco, Fredo does enlist others for collaborations, including close friends Ratlin and Mystro, Kaos, Not3s, who is fast becoming the go to man for hooks in the UK Rap scene, and surprise appearances from Desiigner and Dave East. Each artist justifies their involvement in the project, with East, one of the hardest working MCs on the planet, delivering a verse, which outshines many of his American counterparts who normally provide material of a lower caliber when working with UK artists.
Despite major American names being called in, Fredo is still the star of the show. As an artist he has mastered song structure, and is capable of doing what many rappers struggle to do which is to create catchy hooks, ‘Boom Boom’ and ‘Star’ being ideal examples of this. On the latter, he shows off his variation in rhyming pattern, pausing before the final lyric in his bar for impact and also to maintain his flow. The conviction he possesses in his voice is the envy of many an artist, and his clarity is what makes him so appealing to a listener. He doesn’t try to overcomplicate his lyrics, and whilst he is direct, he is brilliant at painting a picture for the listener, creating vivid imagery in the process.
Ruthless content coupled with venomous delivery, Fredo is a fearless individual and this translates into his music. He is unafraid of speaking his truth, and despite speaking on topics which may be deemed negative and offensive to a larger scale audience, he also shows a human side on tracks like ‘What It Is’, where he faces paranoia and also grief over the loss of ‘G Dotz’. There were high expectations when Fredo announced the upcoming ‘Tables Turn’ mixtape, and he certainly hasn’t disappointed with his ferocious follow up to ‘Get Rich or Get Recalled’. Fredo’s future is bright, I only hope that he continues his rise, and lives up to his potential.