Chicago Icon Fredo Santana Passes Away at 27


Derrick Coleman, better known as Fredo Santana passed away on January 19, 2018 of kidney and liver failure. He was 27. It’s a massive loss for Chicago hip-hop, and hip-hop in general.

In Chicago, Fredo was a key part of the GBE movement that took over the city in a way few could have thought possible. First cousin of Chief Keef, the two artists lead the way for countless others in Chicago. And when it came to outsiders, Fredo brought the first wave of gawking cameras and curious ears to Chicago that would initiate the beginnings of a fledgling music industry in Chicago. Fredo sparked people’s interest across hip-hop with the music Chicago had to offer, putting out 5 mixtapes and an album between 2012 and 2014 and, once the attention was here, it stayed.

Artists outside of Chicago that were inspired by him directly and indirectly are now at the forefront of today’s popular music, from Lil Pump to Drake, the list goes on. It’ll be some time before we can get the full picture of how widespread his influence was, but even now it seems significant: His face ink, for instance, his lingo, his aesthetic, the slow, off-time flow that critics at the time couldn’t understand but sounded so very good- all are artistic choices that taken on lives of their own in hip hop. Not to mention the crunchy, grimy bass, starting with It’s A Scary Site,  amped up with Fredo Kruger and Scary Site 2, which can be heard frequently all over the music scene now. Fredo was more than his art, but at times like these we need to acknowledge just how much influence he wielded.

He was an gifted entrepreneur who started his own label, Savage Squad Records, a weed dispensary in California, and capitalized off of his fashion intuition by selling clothes when the City Of Chicago interfered with artists’  live performance money. Fredo was also, most importantly, a father and partner- but still, with everything he was to the world and to the people around him, he was in pain.  We didn’t even “know the half of it”. However, Fredo had recently gotten clean and it was frequently said that the last few months had been his happiest in ages. His pain did not define him; his impact on music, Chicago, his family, the world- did. We’ll miss you Fredo Santana.