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WPGM Recommends: Fredo – Money Can’t Buy Happiness (Album Review)

There was a special atmosphere to new music Friday on the final weekend of January, we saw an energising hype in the industry with releases from several personal favourites throughout the genres. Fredo was the centre of most of this in the UK, with the release of his second studio album Money Can’t Buy Happiness.

Originally set to release in spring last year but pushed back presumably due to the pandemic, it has received a positive reception since its release, earning the number two spot in the UK Official Album Chart. The project is markedly different from the nursery rhyme themed “Hickory Dickory Dock”, which he released in 2020, to the somewhat confusion of the majority of music fans, who believed it was a step too far for chart success.

Since his 2019 album, Third Avenue, Fredo has been a regular in the UK charts with singles like “Aye Carumba” featuring Young T & Bugsey, “So High” with Mist, and “Funky Friday” with his friend, Dave, but it’s all too often that fans begin pleading with artists to leave chart influenced music and revisit the original form that made them a success, and thankfully, Fredo does just that on his new album.

Re-entering the flow and lyricism that made him a known artist, Fredo delves deeper into his childhood, past mistakes, hood affiliations, and it breaks the barrier between him and us, allowing his art to project who Fredo is. He stands before us as grown-up – now a father, he asserts his level of consciousness and self-reflection, making this album a poignant embodiment of work.

Earning his spot as executive producer after his accredited execution of Psychodrama, the ever-talented Dave, helps the project breathe with Fredo’s rap flow. The production cuts close to the bone, brought together thoughtfully by the prosperous pair.

Dave produced a large majority of the tracks, but also had contributions from Da Beatfreakz, Mojam, MJ, Yoz Beatz, Kyle Evans, Arkzbeatz, Dukus, and RicoRunDat. Dave’s vision shines through this album, with a clear concept and tone, taking us back to a rap form that is not watered down with drip and money. It shows us Fredo’s truth, on a topic that is heavily spoken on.

The project is introduced with the track “Biggest Mistake”, which familiarises us with the background of his life. From Mozart Estate, his parent’s separation, and the people he has lost, being all comparable to the success he has now. If this track illustrates anything, it displays the true nature of the album’s title, that money can’t buy Fredo’s happiness.

Featuring just Pop Smoke, Summer Walker, Young Adz, and Dave, Money Can’t Buy Happiness is not a feature-heavy album, displaying that Fredo has come into his own as an artist, presenting tighter flows and executed bars, it makes it an even more impressive listen.

Tracks like “I Miss”, “Blood In My Eyes”, and “Biggest Mistake” display that financial aid cannot be the saving grace for circumstances related to where he grew up, but Fredo also dissects on his newfound fame and success on the title track “Money Can’t Buy Happiness”, which offers the stark portrait of being a Black man in Britain today, and “Burner On Deck”, possibly the only track to be heard in clubs of the project.

To round off the album is the single “What Can I Say”, which revisits the passing of Fredo’s two friends in 2020, Muscle Gotti and Billy da Kid. He speaks on his emotions, past life, and his come up, whilst shouting out his other friends who have lost their lives or are in prison.

Perhaps his most open, honest, and intimate project to date, it is packed with detail, from the visuals to the production to the lyricism, you can foresee the hard work that both Fredo and Dave dedicated to the album.

Fredos’ Money Can’t Buy Happiness is out now via Since 93, purchase it on iTunes here and stream it on Spotify below

Words by Hiba Hassan

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