Lorde Fredd33’s debut, The Legend of Hotboy Ronald, dropped last May. Pitchfork called it “a deeply personal portrait of Black life from America’s rust belt”. That’s a great sentence. I need to write more.
Fredd33’s art is wedged perfectly between jazzy 90’s nods and today’s top-40 electronic pulse. You could pigeonhole his sound as “trap”, but then you’re no better than the lazy writers who’ve been force feeding you that white-washed simplicity for a decade. He’s from Milwaukee- a city plagued by skyrocketing unemployment, blatant segregation, and staggering rates of incarceration for Black males, so it’s not shocking to hear these fears creep into his music through a neck-snapping array of cadences and flows.
Peep the cover art- an unfortunately accurate urban triumvirate of father, son, and shooter. Sociology lesson aside- the album is a powerful snapshot of the Black existence in an often forgotten city- which is probably not unlike a snapshot of life for Black and Brown people in the city where you live.
Lorde Fredd33’s sound and look might feel a tad common in today’s saturated market, but unpacking Hotboy Ronald through multiple spins reveals a rapper with a few quality years under his belt- grappling with real life while teetering on the edge of a world bigger than Soundcloud.