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About me

We’re in an age where we all have an obsession with appearing busy, our social media accounts are littered with snapshots that attempt to portray busyness, because busyness equals success right? Rarely do these online representations of ourselves reflect reality, but Fredo is someone who is most certainly as busy as his online persona makes him seem. A difficult man to pin down, our proposed interview is spread over three separate meetings, with our first being at a photoshoot, where Fredo seems at home; sporting a range of different designer outfits, culminating with a tracksuit he designed himself. Fashion sense has always been something that has separated West London rappers from the rest of their contemporaries, and like any proud West Londoner will tell you, Global Sports (a iconic streetwear shop located in Shepard’s Bush Market) was the driving force behind a lot of trends during the nineties and early nougthies. Fredo is no different, and attributes his love for fashion to the aspirational stock he’d see on the shop floor, but fashion has become more than self expression for Fredo, its become a business venture too. With prudent investments in Kick Game, and a clothing line of his own PG (Parental Guidance), its little wonder that Fredo’s life embodies the title of his fourth studio album so well. 

Unfinished Business is his first release on his own imprint, but he insists nothing has changed: “I was independent even when I was signed. All them other albums you heard bro, I think maybe the label got me one beat; my label has never got me a feature or nothing. I’ve always been real self sufficient.” The logistical processes may be the same, but Fredo is certainly covering new ground on the album, and after six years in the spotlight, its refreshing to hear a rapper talk about some of the pitfalls that come with success, rather than tunnel visioning on braggadocios opulence. 

Time is now in short supply, and by his own admission Fredo often struggles to balance the music, with the businesses and the responsibilities that come with fatherhood. The latter is what motivated Fred to start broadening his horizons: “becoming a father put a lot more pressure on me. I had my daughter in 2020, thats the same time I invested in Kick Game, its the same time I started designing PG clothing. So it was a mad little time, I had to build more, I still gotta build more.” This ambition is palpable, and even at his most still, in our second (virtual) meeting while he’s in transit, Fredo’s mind seems to be constantly wondering. Like a shark, its as if pausing for a second would be the death of him, he’s constantly thinking about the next milestone, never resting on his laurels. In a relatively short time Fredo has already reached many, most notably a number one single and a number two album, but diversification is something that Fredo has alluded to throughout his career, frequently referencing quitting rap in his lyrics (there’s even a track on the new album entitled “Quit Rapping”), he’s always seemed acutely aware of the ephemeral nature of success in a fickle industry like music. “I feel like there are different reasons why I feel to quit rapping, because I know its not gonna last forever anyway, I cant put all my eggs in that basket, and sometimes just the stuff that comes with it can get tiring.” 

This fatigue would manifest itself as a two year gap between releases. The first hand experience of the constantly revolving cycle of life with the birth of his daughter, and the deaths of two close friends in 2020, was enough to give even Fredo some pause. “I just needed a break, I just needed to live bro, and two of my friends had passed away, so yeah I just needed a break and just to go and enjoy life for a bit.” 

Keeping the memory of his friends alive is something that is an enduring part of the music, as are the threats of retaliation for past transgressions. But Fredo really is at his lyrical best when he’s exploring the existential crises that inevitably arise when you’re faced with the impermanence of life. It’s something that has weighed heavy on him ever since his friends passed away, Fredo says these events have challenged his world view in unexpected ways. “They make me question religion. They make me wonder about heaven and hell and stuff like that. Why does God do the things he does? And where my friends are and shit like that." 

These tales of loss, and vengeance form the bedrock of Unfinished Business. “To The Max”is a track that captures Fredo’s meditative thoughts on this best with lines like “nothing out here don’t ever last, except the running, chasing and all the heavy hearts”. So despite all the success that Fredo has had, its clear he still longs for the simpler times of yesteryear: “I miss school days when we were all just together, before life starting effecting us.” So although Unfinished Business may be devoid of any artistic risks, its certainly something that will sate the appetite of Fredo fans. 

Our first meeting was fleeting, and our second was at the mercy of patchy 4G coverage on the motorway from London to Manchester, so a final rendezvous in Harrow Road was proposed; an area that is integral to Fredo’s origin story. His music highlights a different side to the City of Westminster, one that can be rife with gun crime and violence, but also a place with a real strong sense of community, something all of us who grew up in council housing can attest to. Harrow Road is a neighbourhood that Fred has consistently paid homage to in his music, and in turn the community treat Fredo with the same reverence. The streets were lined with luxury cars, and the hustle and bustle of everyday life on Harrow Road on Saturday afternoon was soundtracked by Unfinished Business as speakers blared out various cuts from the album. Throngs of loyal followers were outside clamouring for the opportunity to take a picture with their local hero. Inside the chicken shop playing host to Fredo, there was a strange calmness, as fans dutifully queued up to give Fredo their patronage in exchange for signed CDs, free food and the much sought after PG merchandise. Fredo was perched in the corner, clearly comfortable and enjoying the convivial atmosphere surrounded by fans and family alike. 

There’s a darker side to success, which Fredo points to on various tracks throughout the album, most notably on “Candlelit Dinners” were he examines how some markers of success have proved hollow and ultimately unfulfilling. The most difficult thing about adjusting to being so visibly successful around people not accustomed to it is that “a lot of people don’t understand my life, they think that I’m richer than I am, and now I have so many different responsibilities, its hard”, says Fredo. He seems a million miles away from these musings as he grabs the mic and heads outside for an impromptu performance of some of his biggest hits in the middle of Harrow Road, blocking off the entire street in the process. Fans encircle the West London star, as he calmly walks into the middle of the road serenading fans and passers-by alike with street classics like “Change”, and his breakout hit “They Ain’t 100”. 

Anthems like these, and his penchant for unfiltered storytelling are precisely what has put Fredo in this position. He’s carved out a lane for himself as one of the scene’s premier storytellers, releasing a string of successful tracks without any choruses, and apart from a brief deviation with a now deleted track “Hickory Dickory Dock”, he has very much stuck to the script with his output since then. Surprisingly, unlike many of his peers, he’s not concerned with being considered the greatest, his sole focus is catering for the people that are already tuned in: “I didn't grow up spitting, this is all a blessing and a surprise to me. So I’m just grateful for however it comes, so having goals about being the greatest and all of that, I don’t care about that, because I'm just grateful that some people even like me.” 

For someone who has frequently bore the brunt of the evanescence of life, its curious to learn that Fredo doesn’t have more of an interest in legacy either, and creating something that can potentially circumvent the finite constraints of mortality. Instead he’s directed his energy at monetary gain, as this can make a tangible difference to his life, and those around him who he now finds himself responsible for due to his newfound success. “Legacy is not that important to me, money is important to me. I wont be upset if I don’t leave a legacy behind, but I will be upset if I don’t have money at the end of this.” 

The recent success of Dave and Central Cee’s joint EP Split Decision has reignited conversations about some of the other most sought after collaboration projects from UK rappers. Rumours of a Fredo and Nines joint mixtape first emerged a number of years ago, but nothing concrete has materialised since. Fredo not only confirmed the existence of the fabled joint project, but he also revealed that recording is already well under way and it will be released soon. “Yeah this year for sure. We started recording it already.” An exciting revelation, considering Fredo rarely ever releases newly recorded music, even Unfinished Business was mostly recorded at the end of last year. “Its rare that you'll hear a song from me that I’ve done recently. Proper rare, even this album, I wrote most of this at the end of last year”. 

A calculated approach to releasing music further cements Fredo’s business acumen, and proves that Unfinished Business is more than just an album title, its a mantra that he lives his life by. “Thats just really how I felt. I feel like I’ve got unfinished business you know. I dropped my last album but it was sort of during the Corona times, I never got to tour. I still got a lot of work to do. I got a lot of unfinished business, whether thats in music, clothing, and just in my life in general.”