I never met Derrick Coleman better known to the world as Fredo Santana, and if we’re being fully transparent, I seldom gave his tracks much play. However, that doesn’t change his notable impact on the music that I regularly consume.
Rewind back to 2012, when drill music was at its peak. Chief Keef is a legitimate rap star in-the-making, Lil Durk has a hot single that the masses have taken a liking to, Young Chop is the in-demand producer of the moment, and most importantly – both drill and Chicago are at the forefront of the rap game.
While critics both inside and outside of hip-hop have issues with the kind of music that illuminated the careers of the aforementioned rappers, the one thing that can’t be taken away is the authenticity that they cultivate through their music. If anyone, Fredo embodied that better than many of the others.
See, Fredo wasn’t the star of the team, but he was the heart. He was the one that made you connect your mind to what was being said in a way that not only made you believe the stories that were being told, but also made you picture them alongside the musical retellings.
“Fredo in the cut that’s a scary sight” is a famous line that came out more than six years ago and still manages to ring off today with the same vibrancy that it did then. Fredo was so important to that scene and culture that even when he wasn’t the central focus his presence going unnoticed was merely impossible, and going forward it won’t be forgotten.
That heart, that authenticity, and that call-to-attention that Fredo seemed to best at was infectious even if you didn’t always agree with his means of living. With that in mind, the news of Fredo’s passing hits even harder after acknowledging his more recent efforts to positively change his circumstances and environment. Like many aren’t appointed the opportunity to do without scrutiny, Fredo was growing as a man, father (most recently to a newborn child), and general contributor to society.
Fredo Santana was a genuine voice at a time where commercialism, commodification, and manufactured representations of people are the norm. Fredo’s gone now, but the legacy he built during the drill era will last forever. And isn’t that the goal? To leave behind something undeniably timeless? I’d say so.
So R.I.P. Fredo Santana, forever in the cut in the skies. Long live.