Download: XXL Freshmen Class Member Fred the Godson's "Headbanger"
Yes In My Backyard is a semiweekly column showcasing MP3s from new and emerging local talent.
Bronx rhymebeast Fred The Godson is the only rapper representing the five boroughs on the cover of the XXL "Freshmen Of The Year" issue--and he's a hell of an ambassador. His rhyme style, a silky update of '90s hometown heroes like Fat Joe and Big Pun, is an effortless pile-up of punchlines and street bravado, all delivered with the cool, snarky rasp of a back-of-the-classroom mutter. His next mixtape, Fred And Friends (part of DJ Drama's esteemed Gangsta Grillz series), is due to appear any day now, featuring appearances by Raekwon, Talib Kweli, Diddy and Jadakiss. But even with that formidable line-up, it'll be hard to beat teaser track "Headbanger" featuring Dipset associate Vado. The track is full of old school gun talk and new school hashtag raps--easily the absolute, hands down funniest of this new trend (our faves: "I came in the crib unexpected... Kramer" and the labyrinthine slow-burner "For the record, I came with the mac... Serato"). We're just as geeked on the beat by Remo The Hit Maker, a track that brings the flip-flopping rhythms of Fat Joe's "Ha Ha (Slow Down)" flailing into the mosh pit. Says Fred, "Whenever you think about 'headbanger,' you think about guitars breakin' and everything. So, it's got a little rock edge."
How did you feel when Remo gave you this beat?
I had the privilege of being right next to him when he was making the beat. We was all together adding different instruments. Remo's a genius. Once he started putting that drum on, you could feel the energy. That's how we made the hook--the energy of the drum really made it sound like a headbanger, so we just surrounded the whole hook with that word.
What inspired your verse?
I had Vado in mind. We were looking for a record and we couldn't quite grasp a beat we were gonna both use. Once we heard that, it had so much energy, it was like, "Yo, me and Vado on this would be crazy. So me and the team huddled up. Vado called me back like, "Yo, slime, this is crazy."
"For the record, I came with the mac... Serato" is probably one of the best lines on any rap song this year. Do you remember where how you came up with it? Was there an epiphany moment?
[Laughs] Yeah, what was crazy, we were just talking about Serato and DJ equipment and how it changed the way people use turntables. I'm giving my two cents while I'm writing a rhyme. He was like, "Yeah, I bring the Mac." I'm a street dude, of course, so the first thing when I hear "Mac," I think of the gun. "For the record" just makes it more juicy.
Is there extra pressure being from the borough where hip-hop itself was born?
People like me, I take pressure and put it as a blessing. If I get the opportunity to get that kind of pressure, of people looking at me, I have the opportunity to bring a culture back. This is my birthplace as well. It's an honor, I'm loving it.
When you were growing up in the Bronx, how were hip-hop's roots instilled in you?
The first time I saw Fat Joe do a video in the Bronx, that got me hyped. The places he was doing the video, those were blocks I walked through every day. I felt special. I'm seeing blocks I walked through on TV. The whole world plays hip-hop--from here to China and Japan--but from me being from the place it was birthed at, it's overwhelming. Sometimes I can't even believe it. Of everywhere in the world, it could have been from Japan or Africa, but something real big is from here in the Bronx, right here in the BX. That's just crazy.
What's your favorite place to eat in Bronx?
Bronx BBQ. It's got everything in it. It's just like every other BBQ, but it's the Bronx BBQ. It's big, everybody's in there, it's nothing but love.
Are you an emerging local band who has an upcoming 7", MP3, or album? Are you not totally fucking terrible like 90% of the bands in this city? Then please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene each week with music news, trends, artist interviews and concert listings. We'll also send you special ticket offers and music deals.