Fredo – Unfinished Business

A powerful statement...

Fredo is ready to speak his whole truth. The rapper shot to fame, gaining plaudits for some wicked features, and a knack for a killer hook. If anything, though, this success proved to be an obstacle – it kept him hemmed in, with industry pressure forcing some uncertain decisions. 2021’s ‘Money Can’t Buy Happiness’ found Fredo going back to his roots – executive produced by Dave, it highlighted his natural skills as a rapper, and his ear for a wicked beat. Swiftly followed by ‘Independence Day’, the dual move re-asserted Fredo’s reputation as one of the country’s best MCs.

New album ‘Unfinished Business’ ups the ante once more, a record that deals in serious topics without reverting to moralising. Not quite a ‘conscious rap’ effort, Fredo is able to speak to fans about grief, loss, fatherhood, and Black manhood in a language that is both profound and accessible. At times, it’s genuinely moving; throughout, however, it kicks hard.

12-minute opening gambit ‘My Story’ is a bravura statement, one that lets fans further into his world than they had ever dared. Lyrically, it’s stunning – a song about loss, the lack of leadership, and the temptations of gang life, delivered in a direct, unrelenting fashion. Almost an album in itself, the intensity of ‘My Story’ gives way to ‘Woo’, and the light touch that adorns the Tiggs da Author aided ‘Scoreboard’.

‘Need His Album’ is punctuated by confidence, but this is countered by the bluntness of ‘Quit Rapping’. Hit single ‘Dave Flow’ doffs his cap to a close friend and collaborator, but really, Fredo is only ever himself. ‘Make Mistakes’ finds the rapper doubling back on himself, before ‘It’s Only Us’ is illuminated in release.

In refusing to be hemmed in, ‘Unfinished Business’ allows Fredo to be seen at his broadest, and most contradictory. On one track he’ll decry his own behaviour, before repeating those mistakes. But ultimately, that’s the point – stripping back the veneer of fame and the noise of social media, Fredo has opted to highlight his humanity on a brave, searing release.


Words: Robin Murray

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