Sunday 19th August 2018. Week before bank holiday. Perfect timing to drop an EP right? New vibes and dem way deh before the tun up! Fred Fredas is a smart guy! Anyone who is not familiar with him already… (having recently performed at a largely successful mental health event hosted by Inside Out late May and holding his own headline show at Roundhouse, Camden earlier in June) you are about to discover that he is a very poetic and emotive rapper.
“In the Search for Love” is a 5 track EP (with 4 tracks produced by Spaceyblak, 1 by Jaykebeatz and the cover illustrated by Mikey Tatenda) that speaks on romantic and family related relationships, differentiating love and lust, hopes, dreams and heartaches. Showcasing thoughts as well as talking from experiences – you are surely bound to relate to at least ONE track. I certainly did.
** Angel in the Sky **
The first time I ever saw Fred perform – he dropped this one… and I was sold instantly! He drew me in with his flow, story-telling, meaningful lyrics, live band and backing singers. The whole song came alive and his passion was fiercely evident! “Angel in the Sky” is a straight-up admission from Fred. Unashamed to make it abundantly clear of what he wants in and from a relationship as he raps each verse. Even going as far to show a softer element by singing the chorus which conveys that the woman he is speaking about is everything he could have prayed for. You cannot deny this man connects with music on every level. I was pleasantly surprised to see this was the first song on the EP. Great placement in my opinion as it opens up the listening journey smoothly and really sets the tone for what is to follow.
** Hallways **
In the second song, Fredas speaks on the contrasting views of male and female perceptions and experiences regarding love and lust. I took in a haunting intro and spoken word feel with the first verse as Fred reflects on chemistry and learning to give more of himself mentally. He questions the motives of pursuing a connection – is it love or lust? Is the person in question sure and / or serious? Does he deserve whatever it is or should he play it safe by maintaining a friendship? Natsrochelle and Nia Ekanem feature and step that haunting feel heard in the intro up several notches with the chorus. Natsrochelle’s soft, soothing vocals pair well with Nia’s strong, raspy tone. The end of the song further highlights just how gorgeous Ekanem’s voice is as he gives us church-like ad-libs to fade out.
At this point I want to highlight the positive affirmations and personal expressions regarding various components of love and relationships that are found on 3 tracks of this EP. For me, they are definitely a nice touch with them being so reflective. The conversational recordings provide an opportunity for listeners to discuss further and expand upon what was contemplated. Do you agree with these views shared about love? Can you relate to the experience the man on the last track speaks on? How do your thoughts, feelings and experiences differ from the woman’s analysis on love on track 3? I’m sure Fred would be curious to find out… as would I.
** Rainbow **
“Rainbow” is the only song to start with a pensive interpretation of what love is or feels like to the woman that is speaking. This one hit me. “There’s a lot of things you have to cut… out or remove from yourself when you’re giving yourself to someone else.” In this track, Fred really doesn’t hold back with the hard hitting questions and overview of various situations we could find ourselves going through, forcing you to dig deep and confront any demons and accept many truths. “Rainbow” features RUE, who has a Jhene Aiko-esque voice. Her sweet vocals on the chorus and contrasting punchy, rap verse about her wants to settle down and have something real, “something new” adds to the emotion of this track and compliments Fred nicely.
** Runnin’ ** (feat. Aminita Francis & K the Infinite)
Here, Fredas speaks honestly about family and being a man. About knowing and finding his place in the family setting. His strained relationship with his younger brother… but still making it clear the door is open for reconciliation and if he ever needs anyone. It’s raw, emotive but delivered in a non-confrontational manner. In fact, there is an underlying feel of hope, acceptance and self-reproach throughout Fred’s verse. Aminita Francis beautifully carries through that feel of resolution and seeking clarity with an equally powerful chorus. The second verse cones from K the Infinite and is a moving narrative of someones experience of abuse and the behaviours displayed as a result of that being a cry for help. K’s delivery mirrors Fred’s in terms of being candid and ruminative. Instrumentally, it is simplistic with only soft piano keys and chords and an uncomplicated drum pattern which really allows for the lyrics to be received without fear of being overshadowed.
** Peace of Mind **
Beeeeautiful piano / chord intro! Straightaway it took my mind somewhere before the lyrics even came in. 30 seconds in brings about a stripped back drum line of hi-hat drips and snare drops Around 1min 25 the 808 filters in and it’s buff! Not too heavy, too much – just right. It adds body to the feel of this track musically and gives depth to the lyrics equally. As you can probably tell, instrumentally – this is me all over! I personally think the whole EP is solid but this track right HERE had me pressing *repeat* every time I got to it. My favourite song, by far, because of the beat AND the lyrics. The beat itself is so poetic, it can easily carry a range of topics… and Fred chose to speak on his gratitude towards a black woman that breathed greatness into him. A woman that believed in him, saw his worth and potential and encouraged him to embody all things positive, productive and true. Fredas then in turn goes on to finish by manifesting the qualities and hopes and dreams that he believes personifies a black woman… “I believe in you girl, hope that you get that!”.
I did. I hope the woman he had in mind when he wrote that got that too! And the rest of you women listening. I hope the mandem were able to connect and relate to the realness Fred was unafraid to share in this EP. I hope it does pave way for open and frank discussions. Fred Fredas, you should be proud! Anyone in the search for love could really take a lot from this. Looking forward to what comes next!