In the South, there’s a different type of grind. A code of silence for the hustlers.

Amongst loved ones, family and friends, we are able to enjoy what lessons we can learn from one another that will keep the next generation heading in the right direction. We all hustle as a source of motivation. In order to save anyone, we must first preserve ourselves. 
An emerging rapper hailing from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Fredo Bang — born Fredrick Givens — is one of the younger voices of the new generation of Southern music, following in the footsteps of hometown peers such as Kevin Gates and NBA Youngboy, as well as his real-life cousin, the legendary Boosie Badazz, to become the best lyricist the South has ever seen.  
His motivation was fueled by redemption and grief after multiple criminal charges and completing a 2.5-year stint in jail from 2014, so Fredo’s got stories to tell. Recently signed to Def Jam, the 24-year-old went viral with his remix with Kevin Gates of Fredo’s single “Oouuh.” Now he’s ready to get to the real work.
Most recently, Fredo was nominated for the 2020 XXL Freshmen 10th spot, sponsored by SoundCloud, as well as opening for Moneybagg Yo on the Time Served Tour, which was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The rising rapper has had his battles with the light after losing two of his closest friends, Krazy Trey and Da Real Gee Money — friends with whom he persevered through some of life’s biggest challenges in his early 20s. Despite these devastating events, Fredo is charging forward, and his music is a vehicle to take his hometown in a new direction. 
Fredo is very mindful of what he reveals and may have quiet moments, but he don’t need to say too much because his actions speak louder than words, and his works speak to a life of action. His new mixtape, “Most Hated,” defines that you can’t substitute fame for authenticity and honor. Heavy is the head that wears the crown. Enter Fredo Bang.

"You always want to be bigger and bigger, you always want to be better and better. So you can’t stop. You can’t stop.”

RESPECT. We wanted to start out by getting to know who you are and where you’re from.

FB: I’m from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

RESPECT. There’s a lot of history from Baton Rouge as far as music and the Southern roots. What first turned you to hip-hop?

FB: I used to play music on my CD player, and [Krazy] Trey and me would perform all that stuff, so I always liked the music.

RESPECT. Who were your biggest influences in music?

FB: I’d probably say Kevin Gates was a big influence. He was a game-changer. He let us know that we could make it.

RESPECT. Being from Baton Rouge, what does the music mean to y’all, as far as the game? Y’all have people from Kevin Gates to Boosie and YoungBoy — what are y’all trying to do to pioneer the game as Baton Rouge artists?

FB: We call it an uncut version of music. It’s just a different type of content. It’s more direct.

RESPECT. There’s also a lot of pride with LSU football. Y’all brought a championship home recently. Although there aren’t any sports right now due to coronavirus, how do you feel LSU and Baton Rouge will be put on the map this year?

FB: LSU is a championship school, so it’s just really bringing us back to old glory, know what I’m saying? It’s putting us back on the pedestal we’re supposed to be on.

RESPECT. Who are your favorite players at LSU of all time?

FB: Russell Gage and D.J. Chark.

RESPECT. And what’s your favorite place to eat, Raising Cane’s or Popeyes?

FB: Popeyes. Raising Cane’s has no seasoning. 

RESPECT. Ain’t gon’ lie, their sauce is fire, though!

FB: But all that is is ketchup, mayonnaise and mustard. That’s all that is. You can make that at home.

RESPECT. Have you ever made it before?

FB: Yeah.

" People I wanna work with, just personally, would be Drake, Young Thug, and Uzi. Kodak, if he was free, but other than that, I wouldn’t really wanna work with nobody besides people I work with out here."

RESPECT. Who are some of the people you want to collaborate with, and who are some of your favorite collaborations?


FB: People I wanna work with, just personally, would be Drake, Young Thug, and Uzi. Kodak, if he was free, but other than that, I wouldn’t really wanna work with nobody besides people I work with out here. I’m more into, like … I’m more into developing my songs right now. The features I would do would be more dream features, you know what I’m saying?


RESPECT. For sure. You’ve definitely been making some noise the last couple of years, and you actually got nominated for a top-10 spot in the XXL Freshmen. What does that mean to you, and why do you think you deserve it?


FB: I wouldn’t say I deserve … I work for it and hope that people like what I do. But it’s just accolades, just something that I can say I’ve done that a lot of people haven’t done. It means a lot because it shows that people are watching and appreciating all the hard work and hours I’ve put into this. I’ve missed a lot of holidays, birthdays, family functions and all that stuff, just to try and win and make a way for my family, you know?


RESPECT. What’s your inspiration? Who do you do it for?


FB: I do it for my family and my dead father.


RESPECT. For sure. You dropped a project just recently [Most Hated, released April 17, 2020, on Def Jam]. Can you tell me about it? And as far as the Def Jam situation, how did everything just work out for the best?

FB: It was just a situation where I wanted to elevate and add fuel to the fire I already started. I got to the point where I knew that this was gonna be hella hard to go far from where I was at by myself. So I thought it was time to take an extra step, because you know, I wanna be bigger and bigger, you know? I don’t want to just be stuck in one place and be content with that. So I felt like it was just time, I dropped Pain Made Me Numb, my first project with them. It did real good. Then I dropped Most Hated. I got big songs on that, so I’m just interested to see how my fans react and, you know, keep their ears open to my music.

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RESPECT. How do you feel like you’re influencing and inspiring the next generation? And what kind of advice can you give the next rappers coming out of Baton Rouge?

FB: I’d just say to them they can never be content. I always feel like you can do more, because I’ve been seeing a lot of people who had their shine, and had a single that was hot as hell, and then they just lose their stroke, you know what I’m saying? You always want to be bigger and bigger, you always want to be better and better. So you can’t stop. You can’t stop.

RESPECT. You definitely got a lot of advice from a lot of legends in your area, and after watching an interview, I learned you were related to Boosie. Has Boosie ever given you any advice as far as the game?

FB: Nah.

RESPECT. So with what you know right now, the big homies, what advice has anybody given you as far as how to pursue music and staying true to who you are?

FB: I had people tell me that I can’t help everybody, know what I’m saying? It might sound selfish, but try to take care of yourself before you take care of everybody else. At the end of the day, if you fall off, what is everybody reliant on you going to do, you know?

RESPECT. How do you feel like you take care of yourself? What’s one of the goals you want to accomplish this year?

FB: This year I’m trying to get a future gold plaque, trying to hit Billboard’s Top 100. I’m trying to be in the room with the stars, you know? I want to get to the point in my career where everything I drop, I’ll go gold or platinum, you know?

RESPECT. You had a collaboration with Tay Keith [“Face Down”]. Was that one of your favorite collaborations? What was one good thing you got out of it, as far as the collaboration?

FB. With that situation, I think he actually did the beat and pulled up the next day with it. And it was just one of those natural things. The hook made itself, you know what I’m saying? It was just one of those. And we came out with a banger.

RESPECT. Who is Fredo Bang?

FB: I don’t know how to answer that question. You’ll have to listen to my music from the beginning to now, you know what I’m saying? I’m a regular person who goes through a lot, just like everybody else. And my life’s struggles and challenges have made me, and it made my music, so it’ll give you my whole blueprint and the breakdown of me. Check out “2 Face Bang” and then “Pain,” and then the new mixtape that dropped on the 17th. You’ll hear the pain and the struggle, and you’ll see the development. You’ll see the evolution of me, you know?

RESPECT. For sure. Last question. What does the word “respect” mean to you?

FB: It’s just standing for what you believe in. Respect has always been what you believe in. Always. It’s about giving the energy that you want to receive.


PHOTO Def Jam Recordings