Headliners: Fred the Godson and DJ Drama
Representing: Bronx, New York
Mixtape: City of God
Real Spit: Fred the Godson makes a strong proclamation for a relative newcomer to rap on his new City of God mixtape: “You can’t rank my skill/ I told Drama that this would be one of the most lyrical Gangsta Grillz.” But the Bronx, New York, MC backs up his boast with bullying bars.
Big Bronx, as Fred’s also known, sets a hell of a tone on the tape’s intro, and exercising his lyrical dominance isn’t the only promise he makes. Over a subdued piano track, Fred the God also pledges to return New York to its rap prominence.
“We chose for the mixtape to be called City of God because of ‘City of God’ the movie — it’s like a takeover,” Fred told Mixtape Daily of drawing inspiration from the 2002 Rio de Janeiro-set film.
Making a play on the title of the flick and his rap moniker, Fred’s confidence in his own ability is apparent throughout the 19-track mixtape. “That’s why we went with that name, and I’m just here to try to win New York, to try to bring New York back in general,” he said.
Fred’s formula is simple: mix dramatic, banging beats with witty punchlines and a hustler’s ambition, then add the occasional notable feature and voila, you have one of the hardest mixtapes of 2011.
On “Gettin’ Money Pt. II,” Fred collaborates with Meek Mill and Cory Gunz over a menacing track guided by a Diddy-laced hook. “Doves Fly” finds Fred alongside G.O.O.D. Music’s Pusha T on a cocaine-themed free-for-all. “What up Pusha? Tell Malice I got that Khaled/ The best, send a fiend to the moon — Alice,” Fred spits while Pusha Ton offers, “Every block another notch up on my résumé/ Now I’m getting rap money with a better ‘Ye.”
Raekwon shows up on the title track, Maino on “How You Don’t Know Me” and Vado for “Head Banger,” but Fred is just as comfortable holding tracks down by himself. “Block on Fire” is a coming-of-age story in which the hefty MC documents his street rise. “I’m tryin’ to cop the drop-650 from the powder/ I can’t do that makin’ $6.50 an hour,” he spits about his dream car.
It isn’t all chest-pounding, however, as Fred displays a healthy amount of conviction on “We Gon Fly.” Instead of rapping about the upside of the drug trade, the Godson rhymes about moving from the street to rap’s legal hustle, opening up about his daughter Sadie and his almost-lethal bout with asthma.
Although he has already accomplished a lot in his rap career, the 2011 XXL Freshman gets honest on “Long Way to Go,” noting that his “top-ranked flow” is only one part of the bigger picture. Still, if Fred the Godson continues to put out projects of this caliber, the road to riches may not be as long as he thinks.
Joints to Check For
» “Hip Hop”: “The first joint is called ‘Hip Hop,’ featuring D-Dot Angelettie; you know him as the Mad Rapper from [the] ’90s, Biggie, Mase and all that, ‘Tell ‘em why you mad son,’ ” Fred said. “We brought him back on this joint called ‘Hip Hop’ because now he got something to be mad about again, you know, the bars is back, them lyrics is fire. It’s called ‘Hip Hop’ ’cause it got that knock to it. And I’m just going in with them bars with the flow and all that, so this one they gonna love.”
» “Talkin Bout Money”: “This joint right here is the ‘Dead Presidents’ freestyle from [Jay-Z's] Reasonable Doubt. I took the beat and I got a little bit of harmonizing on it from my brother Remo the Hitmaker and it’s just bars on it. Not everybody can mess around with this beat, so I took it and I did my thing with it.”
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