It’s been two years since we heard from Fredo in long form. Third Avenue dropped on the 1st of February 2019 and landed the number five spot, equalling his street classic Tables Turn. Although during that time we haven’t had a shortage of Fredo, with him appearing alongside Mo Stack, Mist, Tory Lanez and frequent collaborators Young T & Bugsey.
Aside from the feature verses, Fred had something of a misstep with single “Hickory Dickory Dock”, which was swiftly taken down after coming under fire from fans. But rest assured Money Cant Buy Happiness sees Fredo back in fine form.
2020 was full of ups and downs for Fred, with him becoming a father and dealing with the loss of people close to him; he’s channeled all these complex emotions into this body of work. It’s the most honest and vulnerable we’ve heard him, and it’s certainly packed with the lyricism that first drew us to Fred, so to celebrate that, we’ve rounded up 11 of our favourite bars from Money Cant Buy Happiness. Take it in below!
“Ready” – Feat Summer Walker
“It’s funny where I’m from guns are pressing a lot, but if you’re from here in life you have less of a shot.”
This track sees Atlanta songstress Summer Walker on the hook for one of the strongest tracks on the album. It’s got mainstream crossover potential, while not compromising on the things that we love about Fredo. The beat comes complete with the legendary vocal sample from Enya’s track “Boadicea” which most people will probably recognise from The Fugees classic “Ready or Not”.
“Money Talks” – Feat Dave
“My tape took long if you waited I’m soz, but first we had to go drop tape on their block”
Dave has been collaborating with Fredo since Tables Turn, which was when they originally recorded their number one single “Funky Friday”. Dave featured on Fred’s debut album too on the “All I ever Wanted”. This time round though things are different, as well as continuing his J Cole esque run with his feature verses, Dave executive produced this album, and his influence can be felt throughout. Fred bares his teeth on this lyric, and give us one of his signature defiant double entendres.
“Burner On Deck” Feat Pop Smoke & Young Adz
“He jumping the fence, hurdler, I just broke in your bitch like a burglar”
On paper this is probably the tune that everyone is most excited to hear, and it certainly doesn’t disappoint. This one is less about the bars and more about the way the artists bounce off each other on the instrumental. Fred doesn’t do as badly as some of us might have expected when he’s harmonising alongside Pop and Adz. Fred is no stranger to pulling in the big features, He had Dave East and Desiigner on Tables Turn before the track was pulled.
“I miss feeling excited buying them jewels and leaving them racks in the store, now it’s so normal I spend a 100 racks and don’t snap it no more.”
The album gives us a real insight into some of the things Fredo has seen and experienced, whether it’s the gritty tales of a life he’s left behind, or lyrics that remind us how much his life has changed.
“Blood in my Eyes”
“All those girls I couldn’t treat right If you ask I was young, I never tried to understand girls, but now I’m a father of one, I try be around it was hard for her mum, cant forgive all the harm that I done, why you play with my heart like its fun? When you know you can call me and ask and it’s done.”
The most reflective we’ve heard Fredo is on this album. After experiencing the circle of life so close to home, it’s little wonder that we find Fred looking back at his past transgressions. Fred muses at the irony of fathering a daughter despite his womanising ways.
“It’s only now that I’m meeting different kind of people, realising that we grew up round a different kind of evil, my auntie is on drugs she’s living by the needle, If I leave her round my chips she’ll be stealing like a seagull.”
Fred once again touches on a theme that is present throughout the album, the way in which his new life has made him realise how abnormal his old way of life was.
“What Can I Say”
“Yo I wrote this for Billy and its a letter to Mus, how did life get better then get the better of us?”
We heard this ode to Fredo’s lost loved ones back in October, before the album was even announced. The opening line is so powerful, it really sets the tone for the rest of the track. Fred dedicates a verse to each of his friends who have passed, detailing their shared experiences as he pours out his emotions over the solemn instrumental.
“Back to Basics”
“Still I aint cutting from the opps N**** know Fredo will run for mayor first.”
Fredo dropped these set of visuals a week before the album’s release date. The title of the track is somewhat a mission statement for his approach, he’s keen to remind fans that we can expect a return to what he does well, allaying any potential worries of a repeat of “Hickory Dickory Dock”. Fred does that empathically as he slides effortlessly over the Dave produced track, with this sharp tongue in cheek barb directed at his opposition.
“Junkies wrestle when we come in the door cause Stroe brought the smack down and I’m coming with raw.”
The title of the track is as much a reference to jewellery as it is to the now infamous advice from Fredo to “Never feed the badders pasta”. Although this album is filled with ostentatious lyricism about all the finer things in life Fredo has access to, it’s also filled with plenty of vivid references to life he left not so long ago. And who doesn’t like wrestling reference?
“Ready” Featuring Summer Walker
“Little Nathan got life we couldn’t tell him to stop, now he’s doing 28 years whether ready or not. God I wonder whether you’ll let me into heaven or what? I been riding, I been stealing I been selling a lot.”
Fredo is at his best when he’s ruminating on life and the things around him. This poignant lyric tragically sums up the bleak situations some of his peers find themselves faced with. Fred also ponders what his own fate might be in the next life.
“Blood In My Eyes”
“God how did you save me as well, my first faith was faith in a scale, when I prayed I was praying for bail, I knew you was somewhere but raised me in hell, now I don’t wanna question your love just watch over the rest of my tugs.”
With so many of Fredo’s peers not being as fortunate as him to escape the lifestyle, it almost sounds as if Fred is battling with survivors guilt in this lyric. Previously, we’d never have thought Fred would be much of a theologian, but he openly discusses God, and his relationship with God many times throughout the course of the album.
It was no mean feat narrowing down the best lyrics from Money Cant buy Happiness, but we’ve tried to encompass the spirt and the message of the album with the lyrics that we’ve selected. Loads more great lines that we’ve undoubtedly missed, let us know some of your favourites on the socials!