“I realised the other day, I’ve really got a job - I have to pay tax now!” jokes West London trapper-turned-rapper Fredo. It’s been an exhilarating ride over the last couple of years for the Harrow Road native, who’s latest mixtape ‘Tables Turn’ scored him a Top Five spot on the UK album chart.
The tape was Fredo’s second release behind 2017’s ‘Get Rich or Get Recalled’, and signals a step up in production and content. “I didn’t have a lot of music out there, and I felt like I’ve come a long way as an artist since my last project, so I just wanted to get it out there and see what the reaction was like,” he explains. “With ‘Tables Turn’ it’s just a different time in my life. I feel like I was less clued up about music when I made ‘Get Rich or Get Recalled’, and now I feel like I’m growing and learning more”.
The feature list for ‘Tables Turn’ is rather scarce for a mixtape, but this was intentional. “I like doing songs with other people, but with this project I wanted to showcase myself a bit more, only getting features from my friends, as well as Not3s because he’s a different style musically to myself,” he offers, before expanding on the production process: “The beats are evolving too, and that’s a big part of what makes the project great. I’ve got a guy called JB Productions, he’s done seven of the beats that are on ‘Tables Turn’ and I’ve also worked with other people too like Beat Boss. Looking forward, I’ve started to do a little bit with Steel Banglez as well, his beats are always sick, he’s the go-to guy at the moment.”
Keeping a close knit circle when it comes to the music is easier said than done. While many artists clamour for that ‘flavour of the month’ guest feature to help their single really light up the roads, it’s something that Fredo remains keen to avoid. “I only like to make links that make sense, and tracks that happen naturally. ‘Get Rich Or Get Recalled’ was just a bunch of songs that I didn’t know the producers properly and I was in and out of jail whilst making it. I wanted ‘Tables Turn’ to be a smoother process” he explains.
“I really sat down and put time, effort and thought into it. I’ve been to nice studios, met people, I’ve seen and done a lot more stuff this time round”.
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The London artist's 2016 breakthrough banger ‘They Ain’t 100’ was championed by Canadian superstar Drake, and it seems that the UK rap scene has never been more thriving than it is today. Fredo puts this down to our cousins over the pond taking it upon themselves to delve into the scene. “Maybe they’re only just looking now, maybe they looked at the UK and thought it was all just tea and biscuits, they didn’t look into our scene that hard,” he muses. “People don’t really know what’s there until they actively go and check it out.”
The track still holds up two years later and is a crowd favourite at his shows: “It’s my finisher; it’s the one they like the most!”
Fredo recently kicked off a sold out tour up in Glasgow, and is still getting used to seeing fans outside of London rapping all of his lyrics. “It’s a very good feeling man,” he admits. “It’s different, it’s strange but good. The tour is different to festivals, on a tour they’re there solely to see you, that’s why I like them the most. I like the ones I can bring all my friends through and just enjoy it with my them.”
The path to stardom hasn’t been the easiest for Fredo, but the work he’s put into chasing his dream finally appears to be paying off. “When I realised that I could do this music thing properly, it was one of the best feelings ever,” he recalls. “Life’s not always about getting money, sometimes its about being stable and comfortable.”
Since he broke out in 2016, the West London spitter has had two stints in jail, both times beating his case, and whilst some people find it hard to leave the street life behind them and to stay out of jail, Fredo doesn’t see it that way. “Nah it’s the easiest thing ever” he offers passionately. “I know it myself, and it’s at the point now where my friends know it too. There will be certain phone calls that they won’t even answer no-more. Music is bigger than that.”
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Fredo's new mixtape 'Tables Turn' is out now.
Words: Mike Wood
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