Over four years have passed since the death of Fredo Santana, whose name will forever hold significance due the legendary name drop in Chief Keef’s “I Don’t Like.” He may have never seen the same level of success that his cousin would get, but the music has held up to this day. While rappers like Lil Reese still had a longways to go in terms of flow, Fredo felt just as prime as his contemporaries just two mixtapes in. Feeling like a clearer Chief Keef, his second mixtape shows him putting together some of the most anthemic songs of the Chicago drill scene.
A notable aspect of the tape is the length of the songs. While scenes like NY Drill have taken pride in the short fast paced feel of their songs, the songs on Fredo’s tape can run upwards of seven minutes. Yet they never feel like it, these songs are packed out with multiple features that always hold interest. Take “Change,” a seven-minute-long song that features the likes of Gino Marley, Lil Durk, Ballout & Capo. Fredo’s hook is an autotune slurry, maintaining infectiousness every times it comes on, with production that feels completely blown out in an endearing way. They capture the feeling of others changing around you, under the guise of melodic earworms, making for an iconic track.
Fredo shines on the few solo tracks that are here. “Rob My Plug” is Fredo at his most frightening, directly telling how he’s going to rob his own plug. The simplicity & directness of it is gripping, with production that fits perfectly. “Cook the Dope Up” is the shortest track here but introduces a flow that would be adopted by many in the modern scene today, some rappers like CHXPO would make this their primary style. He captures the trap life in every bar and doesn’t make light of it.
Features here come from everyone in his immediate circle to hip hop legends. Soulja Boy is featured on “Fuck You Up,” who is far from the hardest rapper out, but undoubtedly influenced the methods of leveraging social media to give modern music its platform. Dipset member Juelz Santana is on “Rollie on My Wrist,” which is far from prime Juelz but still an enjoyable feature. Even though Future wouldn’t be the level of stardom he is today on his feature, he provided Fredo with a song that can still be heard in parties to this day.
He would never drop a truly classic project like his peers, but he would be one of the better rappers in the scene. His bars are cutthroat, with a relentless desire to strive in the trap. He felt separate from Chief Keef to not drawn too many comparisons, even though there are some. With all that, he was seemingly the perfect package. While Fredo Kruger doesn’t hold the same influence as many other projects in the scene, it holds its significance as one of the best.