Fredro Starr

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Fredro Starr
Fredro Starr in St. Petersburg, Russia (2015).jpg
Fredro Starr in St. Petersburg, Russia (2015)
Background information
Birth nameFred Lee Scruggs Jr.
Also known asMagic, Kool Fredro, Mickey Billy, Never, Firestarr, Dro Starr
Born (1971-04-18) April 18, 1971 (age 48)
New York City, New York
GenresHardcore hip hop, Gangsta Rap, East Coast hip hop
Occupation(s)Breakdancer, Rapper, Record producer, Actor, Author
Years active1988–present
LabelsJMJ Records, Def Jam, Mad Money Movement
Associated actsOnyx, Jam Master Jay

Fred Lee Scruggs Jr. (born April 18, 1971), better known by his stage name Fredro Starr, is an American hardcore rapper, record producer, actor and author, best known as a member of multi-platinum hardcore rap group Onyx. Fredro Starr was discovered by the late great hip hop legend Jam Master Jay of Run-D.M.C. who signed Onyx on his legendary label JMJ Records. Onyx went on to release three top selling albums before Fredro began his solo career. As a part of Onyx, Fredro Starr was nominated as "Rap/Hip-Hop New Artist" on American Music Awards of 1994 and won "Best Rap Album" on 1994 Soul Train Music Awards.

Fredro Starr starred in more than 55 films and television shows. He made his acting debut in Forest Whitaker's award-winning HBO drama Strapped. His feature film credits include Spike Lee's Clockers, Sunset Park, Ride, Light It Up, Save the Last Dance and Torque. He also performed the Save the Last Dance's theme song, "Shining Through", with Jill Scott on the six times platinum soundtrack.

Starr made his television debut in Law & Order and New York Undercover, but he best known for his role 'Q' in Moesha, starring R&B singer Brandy. He also appeared in HBO's The Wire, NYPD Blue, Blade (TV series) and CSI: Miami. Fredro also co-hosted Dance 360, Paramount Television's extremely popular, daily, half-hour urban dance competition show.

Early life[edit]

Fred Lee Scruggs Jr. was born in Kings County Hospital Center on April 18, 1971. He grew up in the Flatbush, Brooklyn. In 1984, at the age of 13, he moved with his brother David Scruggs (also known as Who$ane) to the South Jamaica, Queens. Between 1984 and 1988, Fredro Starr studied at John Adams High School (Queens). At the same school where studied Marlon Fledtcher (also known as Big DS), Tyrone Taylor (also known as Suave and Sonny Seeza), Mr. Cheeks and Freaky Tah.[1] Fredro first met Suave at the battle in Ajax Park (Jamaica, New York) (now called "Dr. Charles R. Drew Park").[2]

Music career[edit]

1984–1988 career beginnings[edit]

Fred started out doing breakdancing after watching the movie "Beat Street" (1984), he was known by the name Magic.[3]

In late 1985 Fredro Starr decided to become a street poet after watching the movie "Krush Groove" (1985). He was inspired by the style of LL Cool J.[4]

For the first time, Fredro picked up a microphone in 1986 on the basketball court in the Baisley Park in Queens where he rhyming with his friends Cocheeks (also known as Mr. Cheeks), Freaky Tah, Dot-a-Rock, Spank G and Panama P.I. (also known as Big Prince) under live mixes of GrandMasta Vic and CutMasta JT. In this place were usually held jams, and often there were shoot-outs, but this did not stop anyone. Fredro was then known as Kool Fredro.[5][6] In an interview with Brian Coleman, Fredro Starr remembers:[4]

In 1986, Fred started working at "Nu Tribe Barbershop" on Jamaica Avenue in Queens. His younger cousin Kirk Jones (also known as Sticky Fingaz) will join him as a barber three years later after moving from Brooklyn to Queens. At "Nu Tribe Barbershop" Fred had to cut local drug dealers from Supreme Team (gang), as well as celebrities such as Kool G Rap, Rakim, Big Daddy Kane and others.[7][8] In this barbershop Fred and Kirk will make money until they hear on the radio their song "Throw Ya Gunz" in November 1992.

At the same time Fredro along with his cousin Kirk Jones, then known as Trop, visited the nightclubs of New York. The guys wore green dreadlocks and dressed in boots Dr. Martens. In an interview with Unkut, hip hop artist B-1 described his friendship with Fredro and Sticky:[9]

Onyx[edit]

In 1988, after graduating from school at the age of 17, Fredro Starr created the rap group Onyx along with his schoolmates Big DS and Suavé (also known as Sonny Seeza). Big DS came up with the name for the group, he named it after the black stone Onyx. They began to make the first demos in the basement of B-Wiz with drum machine beats from an SP-12.[10]

In 1989, Onyx signed Jeffrey Harris as their manager, who helped them secure a contract with the label Profile Records. In 1990, at York Studio in Brooklyn, they recorded their first single, "Ah, And We Do It Like This", which was released to low sales on April 25, 1990 on Profile.[11][12]

Fredro Starr, Big DS and Suave (also known as Sonny Seeza) met Jam Master Jay in a traffic jam at The Jones Beach GreekFest Festival on July 13, 1991.[13][14] Jay give them about two months to get a demo, but Suave and Big DS they didn't make it to the studio because they were stranded in Connecticut.[15] So Jeff Harris, the manager of Onyx, asked Fredro to come to the studio with his cousin, Kirk Jones, who at the time was doing a solo career under the name Trop and working in the barbershop making a thousand dollars a week cutting high school. Fredro and Sticky Fingaz made two records, "Stik 'N' Muve" and "Exercise".[16] Jam Master Jay liked these songs and that's how Sticky joined the group, because Jay said, “If Sticky ain't in the group, it ain't no group!”. Jay signed the group to his label, JMJ Records, for a single deal, then for an EP deal followed by an album deal because they did 10 songs on a budget of 6 songs.[17][18]

In 1991, despite the reproaches from Fredro, the Onyx's music producer, B-Wiz, sold his drum machine SP-12 and went to Baltimore to sell crack, and eventually he was killed in Baltimore. Thus, all Onyx records were lost.[12]

In 1993, Onyx released their debut album entitled "Bacdafucup". It proved to be a commercial success and eventually went multi-platinum, largely due to the well known single "Slam". Then Onyx released on JMJ Records another two albums: All We Got Iz Us and Shut 'Em Down.

Solo career[edit]

In 2000, Fredro Starr signed a deal with Koch Records and released a mixtape "Firestarr" (Hosted & Mixed by DJ Clue) in the same year. In the following year he released his debut album "Firestarr". From this moment, another nickname is established behind him: Firestarr. In 2000 Starr along with Jill Scott contributed to the soundtrack of Save the Last Dance for the lead single of the movie "Shining Through". Starr's next album, Don't Get Mad Get Money, arrived in 2003.

In 2011, Fredro Starr founded his own label "Mad Money Movement" in Los Angeles. The first release of the label was his solo album "Made In The Streets", a collaboration album with producer Audible Doctor, which was dropped on December 25, 2013.[19] Other releases include Onyx "#WAKEDAFUCUP" (2014), Onyx "Against All Authorities" (2015), ONYX "#WAKEDAFUCUP Reloaded" (2016), Onyx "#WAKEDAFUCUP Reloaded (Picture Disc Vinyl Import)" (2017), Onyx & Dope D.O.D. "Shotgunz In Hell" (2017), Onyx "Black Rock (Onyx album)" (2018)

On May 13, 2013 Starr released his mixtape and first solo project in 10 years entitled "Live 4Ever, Die 2Day". On November 26, 2013 Starr released his first single from his upcoming third album The Firestarr 2 entitled "What If 2".[20] On January 8, 2014 he released the official video for the single.[21]

On October 4, 2015 at the Milk River restaurant in Brooklyn was held a rap-battle between Fredro Starr and Keith Murray. On the results of 3 rounds, Fredro Starr won with a score of 3-0.[22][23][24][25]

On March 9, 2018 Fredro Starr released his 4th solo album "Firestarr 2" on Mad Money Movement.[26] In 2011, Fredro Starr announced via Twitter that he was working on the follow-up of his debut work. The album was due out in the summer of 2012, but later the release was postponed to the first half of 2013. In the end, the project was abandoned, as Fredro met producer Audible Doctor.

Yung Onyx[edit]

In 2006, Starr formed a new group called Yung Onyx, but the group later disbanded.[27][28]

Acting career[edit]

Encouraged by his manager, Jeff Harris, to try his hand at acting, Fredro Starr began reading for roles and was immediately selected to co-star in a television pilot called B Boys (1992). Unfortunately, the project was soon abandoned. Less than a year later, he landed his first role as Bamboo in Forest Whitaker's critically acclaimed HBO film Strapped, which earned him a CableACE Award nomination for "Best Supporting Actor". Fredro Starr also starred in the critically acclaimed drama Clockers, and in Abel Ferrara's The Addiction. Starr moves into his first leading role as Shorty in Sunset Park. In addition to starring in Sunset Park, Fredro co-wrote and performs the title track "Thangz Changed"[29]

Other film credits include Ride, Light It Up, and Save The Last Dance.

On television, Starr had a regular role on Moesha as the title character's boyfriend and fiancé. He appeared in three episodes of HBO's The Wire as Marquis "Bird" Hilton. Starr co-hosted Paramount Domestic Television's daily half-hour urban dance competition, Dance 360, with actor Kel Mitchell. The program aired for one season in 2004 before being canceled due to poor ratings.

Starr also filmed guest appearances on NYPD Blue, Law & Order, Blade: The Series (in which Sticky Fingaz starred in the title role), and Promised Land. He played Ricky Gannon on a CSI: Miami episode that aired February 2, 2009, and appeared on New York Undercover in the episode entitled "Student Affairs."

Fredro producing a documentary about his mentor, Jam Master Jay, entitled Two Turntables and a Microphone: The Life and Death of Jam Master Jay and served as Executive Consultant on the Sticky Fingaz-directed Lionsgate hip hop musical feature film, A Day In The Life, which he also stars in.[30]

Between 2009 and 2010, Starr starred in 12 episodes for the web series Tales Of The Industry. Director: Sanz Pareil TV (Sanz Pareil & Brian "BK" Kim).[31]

In 2012, Starr starred in 20 episodes for the web series 16 Bars with Fredro Starr. Director: Myster DL.[32]

Starr plays the lead in the independent feature-length film Diamond Ruff, which had its premiere in Hartford, Connecticut on November 1, 2013.

In 2018, was filmed the movie Firestarr 2, consisting of video clips for songs from the album Firestarr 2.[33]

Other career[edit]

In 2011, Fredro Starr released two children's books: "Lil Freddy: The Red Sock" and "Lil Freddy: The Bully Kid".[34]

Controversy[edit]

50 Cent[edit]

The beef between Onyx and 50 Cent started on Def Jam's "Survival Of The Illest" concert at the legendary world-famous Apollo Theater. The concert was held on July 18, 1998. During performing the song "React" rapper Scarred 4 Life (also known as Clay Da Raider) performed 50 Cent's verse. A few years later according to the Rap News Network, 50 Cent started a confrontation with Starr at the 2003 Vibe Awards.[35] In a 2003 interview Fredro Starr explained, "50 Cent basically started shit with me, started a scuffle, and a bodyguard broke us up. He's a punk. He's disrespectful to Jam Master Jay ever since he passed."[35] In an interview with The Source, Fredro Starr said that 50 Cent had been disrespectful towards the Onyx rap group even though Onyx had given him his first breakthrough on a song called "React" from the 1998 album, Shut 'Em Down. In a 2008 interview for AllHipHop Fredro made a comment about 50 Cent:[36]

Personal life[edit]

His cousin and fellow Onyx group member is Sticky Fingaz. Fredro Starr has two children, with his wife, Croatian model Korina Longin, whom he married in 2007.[citation needed]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums
Mixtapes
  • Firestarr (Mix-Tape) (Hosted & Mixed by DJ Clue) (2000)
  • Live 4ever Die 2day (2013)

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Nominated work Category Result
1994 American Music Awards of 1994 "Bacdafucup" Rap/Hip-Hop New Artist Nominated
1994 1994 Soul Train Music Awards "Bacdafucup" Best Rap Album Won

Filmography[edit]

Films[edit]

Year Title Role
1993 Strapped Bamboo
1995 The Addiction Black
1995 Clockers Go
1996 Sunset Park Shorty
1998 Ride Geronimo
1999 Black and White (1999 drama film) Fredro Starr (uncredited)
1999 Light It Up Rodney J. Templeton
2001 Save the Last Dance Malakai
2001 Flossin D-Mack
2001 Commitments (TV Movie) Fredro Starr
2004 Torque Junior
2004 Almost Gangsta (Short) Ice Cold
2005 Ganked Ice Pick
2005 Detroit Hoopz Erick Powell
2006 Loyalty & Respect Fredro Starr
2006 My Brother Pharaoh
2006 Forbidden Fruits Brian Casey
2007 Vegas Vampires Carl Weaver
2007 All Lies on Me J-Dub
2008 Show Stoppers Clem
2008 Darling Nikki: The Movie Jason
2008 Nite Tales: The Movie Twan
2008 The Next Hit Rodson Gray
2009 A Day in the Life Phya
2009 Busted AK
2009 The Eddie Black Story Psycho
2011 Comrades Cy
2011 Queen of Media Lamont
2011 After Hours: The Movie Rocko
2013 Deceitful Isaac
2015 Diamond Ruff Diamond Ruff
2015 The Road Movie (Short) Fredro Starr
2016 Mahjongg Tim
2017 The Fearless One Wali
2018 Duke Jimmy
2018 Here Comes the Sun John
2018 Clinton Road Fredro
2019 Equal Standard Du
2019 Kill Box
2019 Slam: Let the Boyz B Boyz Run

Television[edit]

Year Title Role
1994 Law & Order (Competence) Tony 'G-Dog' Rowland
1995 New York Undercover (Student Affairs) Alphonse
1996–2000 Moesha Quinton "Q" Brooks; 52 episodes
1996 Dangerous Minds (TV series) (Evolution) Kareem
1998 In the House (TV series) (Mr. Hill Goes to New York) Trey
1998 Promised Land (TV series) (Denver, Welcome Home) Marley
1998 NYPD Blue (Speak for Yourself, Bruce Clayton) Terrell 'Charles' Cooper / Leon
2002 The Wire (The Pager, One Arrest, All Prologue) Marquis 'Bird' Hilton
2002 NYPD Blue (Death by Cycle) Terrell 'Charles' Cooper / Leon
2003 Karen Sisco (Justice) 6-Pak
2004 Dance 360 Co-Host
2004 Method & Red (Da Shootout) Fear
2006 Blade (TV series) (Bloodlines) Jermaine Turner
2009 CSI: Miami (Smoke Gets in Your CSIs) Ricky Gannon
2009 CSI: NY (Cuckoo's Nest) Deacon
2011 Ultimate MC (TV Series) Fredro Starr
2013 The Eric Andre Show (Wink Martindale; Sarah Burns) Fredro Starr
2016 The Grind TV 1.0 (TV Series) (Theft) Pipino

Video games[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Slam: Let the Boyz B Boyz (TBA)

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Onyx Talks Jam Master Jay, Tupac In the Tunnel, Acting, Battle Rapping & Fans Head Butting Them". youtube.com. Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  2. ^ "Fredro Starr talks Onyx, Jam Master J & Signing to Def Jam Records - 2:09". youtube.com. Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  3. ^ "Onyx on Juan Epstein!! - 3:38 - 6:00". audioboom.com. Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  4. ^ a b "Check the Technique: Liner Notes for Hip-Hop Junkies (by Brian Coleman) - page 303". books.google.ru. Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  5. ^ "Fredro Starr™, Spank Gee™ & BigJTee @ Baisley Park July 31,1989". soundcloud.com. Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  6. ^ "Cutmasta JT(DJ), Spank G, Big Prince (P.I.), Cocheeks (Mr.Cheeks), Fredro Starr (Onyx)". soundcloud.com. Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  7. ^ "Check the Technique: Liner Notes for Hip-Hop Junkies (by Brian Coleman) - page 304". books.google.ru. Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  8. ^ "Fredro Starr on Being a Barber Before Onyx Formed, Cutting Rakim's Hair (Part 1) - 1:04". youtube.com. Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  9. ^ "B-1 – THE UNKUT INTERVIEW". unkut.com. Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  10. ^ "Check the Technique: Liner Notes for Hip-Hop Junkies (by Brian Coleman) - page 305". books.google.ru. Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  11. ^ "The Year Onyx's 'Slam' Crashed Pop Radio". npr.org. Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  12. ^ a b "ONYX: Mad Men". arena.com. Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  13. ^ "Sonny Seeza Explains Why You Don't See Him With ONYX That Much Anymore". youtube.com. Retrieved 2018-09-05.
  14. ^ "Fredro Starr talks Onyx, Jam Master J & Signing to Def Jam Records". youtube.com. Retrieved 2018-09-05.
  15. ^ "Check the Technique: Liner Notes for Hip-Hop Junkies (by Brian Coleman) - page 305". books.google.ru. Retrieved 2018-09-05.
  16. ^ "I Am Hip-Hop - Conversations on the Music and Culture (by Andrew J. Rausch) (April 1, 2011) - page 179". books.google.com. Retrieved 2018-10-24.
  17. ^ "EXCLUSIVE! Onyx on Sticky Fingaz Joining the Group, Jam Master Jay Signing Them". vladtv.com. Retrieved 2018-09-07.
  18. ^ "Freddro Starr Explains How Onyx Got It's Style". youtube.com. Retrieved 2018-09-05.
  19. ^ "Made In the Streets". iTunes. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  20. ^ "What If 2 - Single". iTunes. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  21. ^ "Premiere: Fredro Starr 'What If Pt. 2′". Vibe. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  22. ^ "Keith Murray vs. Fredro Starr Was Completely Insane". youtube.com. Retrieved 2018-08-02.
  23. ^ "Fredro Starr Dismantles Keith Murray In Their Battle & They Nearly Come To Blows (Video)". ambrosiaforheads.com. Retrieved 2018-08-02.
  24. ^ "Keith Murray Apologizes For His Poor Battle Against Fredro Starr & Says He Was on Meds (Video)". ambrosiaforheads.com. Retrieved 2018-08-02.
  25. ^ "Keith Murray Vs Fredro Starr Rap Battle with DJ Enuff Murda Mook & Loaded Lux". youtube.com. Retrieved 2018-08-02.
  26. ^ "Fredro Starr Delivers "Firestarr 2" & Visual". fame.watch. Retrieved 2018-08-02.
  27. ^ "Fredro Starr Introduces Onyx Spin-off, Yung Onyx". allhiphop.com. Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  28. ^ "BANG OUT by YUNG ONYX". itunes.apple.com. Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  29. ^ "Sunset Park". sonymoviechannel.com. Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  30. ^ "It's Like That: '2 Turntables and a Microphone: The Life & Death of Jam Master Jay'". washingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2018-08-02.
  31. ^ "SPTV - Fredro Starr's Tales Of The Industry - Ep. 0 - Trailer". youtube.com. Retrieved 2018-08-02.
  32. ^ "Fredro Starr - 16 Bars with FireStarr (Episode 1)". youtube.com. Retrieved 2018-08-02.
  33. ^ "FREDRO STARR - FIRESTARR 2". youtube.com. Retrieved 2018-08-02.
  34. ^ "Lil Freddy: The Red Sock by Fredro Starr". books.google.ru. Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  35. ^ a b "Rap News Network - Hip-Hop News: Fredo Starr VS 50 Cent". rapnewsdirect.com. Archived from the original on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  36. ^ "Onyx: Cold Getting Dumb (by AllHipHop Staff) [August 22, 2008]". allhiphop.com. Retrieved 2018-09-15.
  37. ^ "Rap Jam - Volume One (USA) (En,Fr,Es)". retrogames.cc. Retrieved 2018-07-30.

External links[edit]