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The Breakdown | Fredo - Money Can’t Buy Happiness

West London rapper Fredo has finally released his highly anticipated second studio album ‘Money Can’t Buy Happiness’ executively produced by Santan Dave. Fredo’s progression as an artist over the last couple of years has been evident. With his 2018 mixtape, ‘Tables Turn’ reaching the number 5 spot on the charts and securing a number 1 hit single with Dave on ‘Funk Friday’ 2018 was the year a lot of buzz built up for the talented, nonchalant rapper.

The next year Fredo followed all that up with his debut album release ‘Third Avenue’ charting at the number 5 spot. Fredo’s popularity only grew from there, as he would impressively go on to sell out his entire UK and Ireland tour. Later on, that year came the legendary moment at 2019 Glastonbury. Stormzy, who was making history by headlining the event decided to bring out Fredo and Dave to perform their hit song ‘Funky Friday’. Fredo has been on an upwards trajectory ever since he's come into the game, and on ‘Money Can’t Buy Happiness’ Fredo makes sure it stays that way by pouring everything he’s got into his music.

The album begins with the intro track titled ‘Biggest Mistake’. This is hands down one of the best UK album intros there’s been for a while. Instantly Fredo pulls in the listeners and gets them hooked while rapping on his past. On a beautifully produced track by Arkz Beats, Fredo details how he got into the streets from a young age and everything he had to go through with his family and friends. Fredo says “It ain't about the start, it's the ending, it ain't about your heart, it's the weapon. This music just came as a blessing, after all of the rain and the lessons”. The way Fredo expresses himself beautifully here and shows that even though his life started off hard, he’s gotten through a lot to get to the point he’s at now. He thanks music for somewhat saving his life.

Fredo recently released two new singles off the album with ‘Back To Basics’ and ‘Money Talks’ featuring Dave. On ‘Back To Basics’ Fredo hits the listeners with a golden familiar sound. With some humorous punchlines mixed with Fredo’s infamous effortless flow, ‘Back To Basics’ definitely has the potential to be a fan favourite. Suave productions create a visual that lets the viewers see some of the finer things in life. Fredo takes us from his expensive car to a luxurious apartment with a magnificent view to match. In a way, I guess you could say Fredo shows everyone exactly what money can buy.

Fredo’s latest single ‘Money Talks’ features Dave on both the production and actual song. This single unquestionably needs to be in consideration for song and video of the year. The storytelling in this video is immaculate. Director Edem Wornoo does a fabulous job of showing money is everything and nothing at the same time. A £50 note goes from Fredo to his plug, to a prostitute, a pastor, the pastor's daughter who happens to work on the set of the ‘Money Talks’ video. Staggeringly that same £50 note that Fredo gave to his plug from earlier makes its way back to the video shoot. Throughout the video, every single person who has that £50 note has some sort of problem. It all goes to show you that money indeed cannot buy happiness. It is an astonishing video that you have to watch back many times to pick up new things.

Aside from the amazing visuals, Fredo and Dave don't let listeners down with their bars too. Fredo says “Free Blacks, they handed him time, like my Audi he'll handle it fine, disrespect me, I'll bang on the nine, we come next day like Amazon Prime”. Fredo’s ability to create street content, but still add an element of humour to it with the Amazon prime line, for example, is exactly why so many people love his music. Dave, of course also wastes no time showing off his pen skills when he says “ Old ting try flex on man last week with a dead baecation. Baby, I go Heathrow more than your man goes petrol station”. Bars like this make you scrunch up your face and put your hands on your head. Both artist, as is the case when they usually work together completely hit this one out of the park.

Fredo then switches up his style on ‘Ready’ featuring the wonderful Summer Walker. He raps about situations with his old friends and thoughts about life after death. He thinks about all the bad things he’s done in his life and whether they will prevent him from getting into heaven. Summer Walker is as mesmerizing as ever on the hook, and at the end of the song and the sample of the Fugees hit song ‘Real Ones’ blends in flawlessly.

Following on from that, Fredo goes into a different bag with a couple of tracks for people to bop to with ‘Do You Right’ and ‘Burner on Deck’ featuring the dearly departed Pop Smoke & Young Adz. It’s impossible not to move when you hear these tracks, and they are needed to switch up the mood a little on the album to make sure things do not get repetitive. Fredo then details everything he misses in life now that he is a success in ‘I Miss’. It is almost as if now Fredo has made it things are anticlimactic to him. He misses some aspects of moving about in the streets. Transitioning from a street guy to a legit rapper is always a difficult one to make, and Fredo here outlines the struggles he has had with it.

‘Blood in My Eyes’ is another stand out track on this album. Fredo touches on how the birth of his daughter changed him and his current mental state. This may be the most Fredo has ever opened up in his career, saying things such as “Said she love me now, what a surprise, but it's not that, a lot in disguise, you can't know the feeling. They don't love you, they love you for reasons, do you love me or love that I'm freezing?” This alludes to Fredo's trust issues with women and the fact that he never knows if someone genuinely loves him or loves the lifestyle he can provide, because of his money... Next in my opinion comes the best couple of lines on this masterpiece of a song, when Fredo raps “Never tried to understand girls and now I'm the father of one. I tried to be around, it was hard for her mum, can't forgive all the harm that I've done. Why you play with my heart like it's fun, when you know you can call me and ask, and it's done?” This line really speaks to me as a young black man. I am all too aware of how too many young brothers do not treat women how they deserve to be treated. Fredo here shows his growth not just as an artist but as a man by taking responsibility for his mistakes in the past. He lets his daughter’s mother know that whenever she needs him for anything, he will be there for her and their daughter.

Fredo closes the album with a moving song titled ‘What Can I Say’. He dedicates this song to his close friends Billy McCullagh and Muscle Gotti, who sadly passed away in 2020. Fredo lets all his emotions out on this track and lets all brothers that have passed know how much they mean to him. It’s a very touching tribute and a fitting way to round up the album.

Fredo’s second studio album 'Money Can’t Buy Happiness' is an incredible piece of work. Fredo displays his lyrical ability while making it clear money hasn't solved countless issues in his life. You can hear Dave’s touch on the album with the piano playing in the background of certain songs and the beats that have a unique breathtaking sound to them. Fredo has mastered the ability to make many different types of music. If you want to listen to introspective rap, he’s got it for you. Is it street rap you're looking for? Fredo’s your guy. What about a party track? No worries he’s got you covered there too. Fredo’s growth as an artist has been phenomenal, and with ‘Money Can’t Buy Happiness’ Fredo has created an album that can truly stand the test of time.