It was a tough weekend for the hip-hop scene in Chicago and beyond as fans, friends and associates mourned the death of Drill pioneer Fredo Santana, who succumbed to kidney and liver failure late Friday night.
The loss is the latest for a contingent of local acts that burst to national infamy through a slew of music that came packaged under the Drill label. Along with cousin Chief Keef and fellow rappers Lil Reese, King Louie, Lil Durk and others, Fredo was an important mainstay far beyond city limits. As Keef, Durk and Louie gained increased international prominence, Santana seemed comfortable outside the camera lens, operating in the background and in turn making his impact felt through various third-parties. “Fredo in the cut, that’s a scary sight” became a sort of premise for the artist who seemed to exist in an atmosphere all his own, ever surrounded by a loyal group of friends and collaborators. Joe Freshgoods actually shared a memory of creating shirts based on the phrase yesterday on Twitter.
In 2015 he parlayed that shadowy mystique into playing the villain in Drake’s video for “Hold On We’re Going Home” and is largely credited with helping to inspire several waves of sound, style and swagger in a way we won’t see soon. The way New York felt after the passing of A$AP Yams is similar to the impact that Fredo had on Chicago and it’s reputation to the rest of the world.
Things won’t be the same without Fredo around. To recap, Keef has lost several family members and close friends in recent years to violence and drug abuse and the fact that Fredo was working to emancipate himself from the hold of drug addiction, it may have been too little too late. Be careful out there, take care of one another and put some Fredo on today to remember yet another Chicago life lost too soon. #RIPFredo.