Rise & Grind is a new editorial series, meant to introduce and dissect new, buzzing, or underground artists.

Baton Rouge’s Fredo Bang is from the same fabric of the Boosie’s and Kevin Gates’ of the world, whose pain and passion are worn on their sleeves through every bar. Bang's journey is just beginning, though. The soulful croons in his music speak volumes to the trauma he’s endured in his lifetime. His experiences reflect a larger picture of the community he comes from, but his positivity is equally inspiring. 

In the past year and a half, projects like Most Hated and In The Name Of Gee have transformed his underground buzz into a nationwide success. “Top” featuring Lil Durk was released in 2020, but continues to rack up plays on streaming services and satellite radio stations as Bang prepares for the release of his forthcoming album.

For this week’s Rise & Grind, Fredo Bang discusses the success of “Top,” his unexpected relationship with Dee-1, and his strange encounter with Kanye West.

Stay tuned for a new installment of Rise & Grind every Monday.

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Image provided by the label

Stomping Grounds:

I’m from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. South Baton Rouge, Uptown, to be exact. Then I moved to Baker, LA when I was like 7 or 8 years old. My favorite thing about the city is the food. That’s about the best thing. I feel like Louisiana we got the best food that you can get in the WORLD, you heard me? Growing up I played baseball and I was in the band, but other than that I was into guns a lot. I had a gun fetish.

[My favorite meal in Baton Rouge is] Red beans, potato salad, fried chicken, cornbread, and a piece of cake from this little spot out here. My favorite spot.

Zodiac Sign:

I’m an Aries. I think they say we emotional. I don’t really know horoscopes like that. I think they say we emotional though. But I don’t know if it’s from that or ‘cause my daddy is bipolar, so I think I’m kinda bipolar. Other than that, I’m nonchalant to a lot of stuff. 

I don’t really know too much about horoscopes. I have always been that person who used to just be annoyed with people who just be into horoscopes. I swear. You know, some people just feel like they just completely know you of this piece of paper. 

Man, it’s really like 70% of the time, [women I meet ask me], “What sign are you?” I be like, “Aries.” [They’ll say] “Oh my god, y’all so crazy. I don’t think we’re gonna work” [laughs].

Top 5 DOA:

Yeah, rappers and artists two different things. I’ll say artists. My top five artists dead or alive, Micheal Jackson, Kanye West, Young Thug, Kevin Gates, and Drake.

Biggest Accomplishment:

My biggest accomplishment would probably be me and just the growth of my mind and my patience. Just being able to control my emotions, putting my pride to the side. I feel like with the music, I ain’t nowhere where I want to be, so I don’t really bask in the things that I achieve in music. ‘Cause I ain’t where I wanna be at yet and I don’t want to get content. So I feel like those things are little baby steps to where I want to get to.

Studio Essentials & Habits:

In the studio, I gotta have cool, Avian water? Evian, I forgot how you say it. Airheads, I gotta have hot tea, with honey, and I don’t like color lights. Color lights in the studio make me feel pretty awkward. Like, give me freaky vibes. And I can’t stand them headphones that be like big cups. I don’t like that. 

I wear headphones but I don’t wear them big ones. Like regular-sized ones cause the big ones be giving a lot of feedback. You don’t get the full depth of the song.

"Top" (Remix) ft. Lil Durk:

The first time we ever spoke was through YNW Melly on Facetime. I forgot what I was calling Melly about, but he had put me on Facetime with him. And we was talking about working then. And then back in August of last year, I seen him in the studio in Atlanta when I was working with Bagg and we exchanged numbers. We was just working in the studio. We ain’t get to get in that time ‘cause I was leaving and it was too many people in the studio. I hate being loud. That’s another thing, I can’t work with a lot of people in the room. I’m self-conscious about my music and how I record.

But I got his number. He ended up doing a show in Miami told me to pull up. I pulled up, after that, we went to the studio and he was like pull something up. Out of all of the songs -- I really ain’t wanna put nobody on “Top” but I felt like he had something to talk about and I ain’t want to take away the message of “Top,” you know what I’m sayin’? I feel like he’ll deliver a message. 

I don’t be having any control over edits. I ain’t know that [clip of me and Lil Durk at the club] was getting recorded. But the place where we shot most of the video at, in Ft. Lauderdale -- I forgot the hood but it’s in Ft Lauderdale -- had a bunch of people out that showed major love. Durk had hopped on top of the car, and was like, ‘Man, y’all gotta turn up for Von one time and they put Von on.’

First Bars:

I remember naming my first song. It was called “Fire.” It was me, Joe Scott, Krazy Trey, and this dude named Trel. We used to be rapping in the closet. I think I said, “Bitch, I’m hot like Icy Hot.” I don’t remember that was like my first bar. I can’t remember nothing after that. I don’t wanna remember [laughs].

First Show:

My first show ever? I remember. I think it was in one of our hoods. It was actually a Sweet 16 birthday party and we got boo’d off stage. I swear, we got boo’d off stage [laughs].  Listen, we ain’t get like boo’d but they had dudes in the crowd that was on some hating stuff. The females was just standing there. So, I seen one dude throwing his hand up then I stopped the music and I was like, “Fool, when I get off stage I’m gonna come holla’ at ya.” So when we got off stage, I went up to him and I was trying to fight him then all these people jumped in between, it was crazy. It was like 2012 or something like that. 2012, 2011, something like that. It was a long time ago. I was like 14.

Clocking Out:

Besides work, all I do is play "Call Of Duty" and watch movies. I’m real big into movies. Other than that Pornhub, I think all of us watch that.

Yeah, I don’t understand [why PornHub took down videos]. I didn’t understand that, I still don’t understand it. That’s probably why I ain’t been watching porn as much. It’s just bull****. I ain’t really into the professional stuff all the time. I like homemade. I don’t know. Actually, I think I wrote to their Instagram or something. I know I ended my account with them when that happened. I wasn’t about to pay for that bull****.

Up Next:

Next three months, you can expect an album. This project, "Still Most Hated," that I just dropped is just a filler. Just something to give them something to listen to ‘til I finish. I really been done with my album, I’m really just picking songs. I got so many songs. It’s like this: do I put the rice on my plate first or do I put the corn on my plate? All this need to be ate and it's all good, but which one do I put on my plate first?

What I like to do is ride in the car, listen to all my songs, try to get a playlist. Then when I got most of the playlist, that’s when I go to eliminate songs that don’t fit in the complete vibe. So I be needing a couple of days for that. 

Did you have a relationship with King Von before his death?

I actually met Von and Quando Rondo way before I ever met Durk. I met him at Hit Factory studio. Him and Melly was about to shoot a video and he had introduced us. After that, I think we did a session that whole night. I always be with Melly so whoever Melly be with, I’m gonna end up seeing. He was always with Melly and they’ll just pull up to the studio and we’ll just be sitting there running about life, going to jail, what happened, you know what I’m sayin’? Chicago a whole different world than Louisana, so we was just swapping minds on some sh**. We always stayed in contact. 

He actually supposed to be on my song. I think he did the verse already I just never heard it, the song with Melly,  “Air It Out” that I got. I don’t know if you heard it, but he was actually supposed to be on that song. 

A bit of a sidenote but is YNW Melly an unofficial A&R to the game? Because I spoke to Tee Grizzley, and he said he met Kanye through Melly.

I met Kanye the same night with Melly! I met Tee through Melly! But look, he just one of those people that people, I feel like they orbit around him. He just a good person to be around, he a real good dude. A lot of people I done met and shook hands with was through him. I was calling him to congratulate him for working with Kanye he like, “Yeah, I just talked to Kanye about the s***. He messing with the music.” I’m like, “Yeah?”

So, I see Kanye, I’m walking up in Hit Factory and you know me, I ain’t really no type of person to get fanned out, but this is Kanye. I walk up to Kanye to shake his hand and Kanye tell me, “Congratulations.” I’m like, “For what?” And he never said what. So, I stopped shaking his hand and then I reached back out to shake his hand again, just on some in the moment type sh**, ‘cause I’m not even thinking.

Did he ever tell you why he congratulated you?

He never told me why he congratulated me. I was very shaken by that. I ain’t know whether to be happy or sad or something [laughs]. He told me congratulations.

Tell me something about your new album. Can you give the readers an exclusive?

It’s gonna be called Murder Made Me. So, that’s all I can tell you. I can’t tell you who gonna be on there. It might be nobody on there. It might be, you never know. 

Producer-wise, can you give us a hint?

I got a song with Hitmaka that’s gonna be on there. Hitmaka good people to work with. Very talented.

The next question I wanted to ask you was about Mr. Augustine, who the rest of us know as Dee-1. I know he was your teacher in high school --

Nah, he was my teacher in middle school.

Were you and Gee Money in the same class with Dee-1?

Not in the same classroom, but we took that same class. Our classes used to rotate, and that class for instance -- No, that class we ain’t take together.

Do you remember what class that was?

Something called social something. I’m trying to remember. Basically, it was about why you shouldn’t do drugs, the causes, and effects, unprotected sex. It was about life stuff.

How did your relationship with Dee-1 develop over the years?

That’s my dog, man. I talked to him all through jail. When I was in jail, I was calling him. Actually, I think I talked to him a couple of weeks ago, I need to hit him back. That’s my dog. He done showed me basically anything’s possible. And he ain’t never turn his back on me. Any of his students, we holla at him, he’ll always holler back. So, I got that same energy with him.

What are the 10 Commandments of Bang-ism?

See, that’s the thing, it ain’t even about that. You basically just putting aside relationships, putting aside sex. And anything on that type of level that could refrain from getting your goal done. Like a goal got for two or three weeks, two or three months, you know what I’m saying? It ain’t like I’m going a year without it, cause I done went two and a half years without it so I don’t feel I don’t punish myself like that. It’s basically just being focused. I want to be in the studio all night. I ain’t got no reason to stop unless I got an emergency. If I ain’t got no late shift, I don’t got to get on the phone, argue with nobody and all that. So, I can get my job done. 

I mean it’s working good. I just pushed out three projects in 12-13 months and I’m about to drop another one. I got two actually. It’s doing something for me.