The South Bronx rapper Fred the Godson passed away on April 23rd, 2020 at the age of 35 after contracting coronavirus earlier in April.
Also known as ‘Gordo’, Fred has been around for over a decade and, after taking a short break from music, he began making a comeback last year and has stayed highly prolific since. He released two full-length albums last year, a collab LP with Brooklyn vet Joell Ortiz and production duo The Heatmakerz called Gorilla Glue, and his own God Level which also featured a handful of Heatmakerz beats and guest appearances by Benny the Butcher (of the fast-rising Griselda crew), 38 Spesh, Jim Jones, Marc Scibilia, Axel Leon, Bobbi Storm, and Sweetest Voice. In case you’re unfamiliar, Fred is very much cut from the the gritty ’90s New York street rap cloth, and it’s good timing that his comeback is coinciding with (and linked to) Griselda’s unexpected fame. If you’re into what those guys are doing right now but haven’t checked out God Level, that’s worth changing.
Payback is the latest official album from Fred, and the last before he passed on. The first single “Rae” features frequent collaborator 38 Spesh, and it is dropping on Spesh’s imprint Air Vinyl. The album also features Klass Murda on the song “Sweet Nothings.” It’s yet another fine example of throwback New York rap, and an incredible parting shot from the BX lyrical legend.
His prowess can't be captured with a small sampling of punchlines, and his work should be appreciated in full form. In a March 2020 interview with The Source, Fred the Godson said he'd planned to flood the market with new music this year. Payback was just the beginning for what looked like a breakout year. The hip-hop community has shown love to the late emcee's family, from Nas to Jadakiss to Juicy J. In his memorial post for Fred the Godson, Fat Joe, who called Fred his "little brother," posted, "Maybe now the world will pay attention to your greatness."
2. Rae f/ 38 Spesh
4. Steve Sax
5. Let It Ring
6. Sweet Nothings f/ Klass Murda
8. It’s All Basic