Fab 5 Freddy
Anyone into hip hop during the late 1980’s and early 1990’s has undoubtedly heard of this guy.
Fred Brathwaite was born in 1959.
He has grown up to be one of hip hop’s most popular figures and he’s never had a hit single.
F5F’s first exposure to hip hop culture was as a graffiti artist in the 70’s. He studied painting in college.
He is responsible for introducing Afrika Bambaataa to the uptown hip hop scene.
Freddy was also featured in name and in person in Blondie’s 1981 hit “Rapture.” Not only does she mention his name in the lyrics, but if you catch the video, you’ll see him in the background painting on the wall. Actually he wasn’t really painting, but then again, it wasn’t a real building anyway.
In 1982, he was part of the first hip hop tour to Europe with Afrika Bambaataa, Rammellzee, Grand Mixer D.ST. & The Infinity Rappers, Rock Steady Crew, the Double Dutch Girls, and graffiti artists Phase 2, Futura, and Dondi.
One of his biggest early achievements was his collaboration with Charlie Ahearn that resulted in the monumental hip hop film Wild Style. Freddy was musical director of the film as well as starring in it himself. It stands as one of the earliest video recording of the hip hop culture as it was developing in the early 80’s.
He has a cameo on graf artist Futura 2000’s single “Escapades of Futura 2000” on Celluloid 1983.
In 1983 he produced a single in Germany called “Hip-Hop-Bommi-Bop” by The Incredible T.H. Scratchers starring Freddy Love. It was a parody of another German tune.
In 1985, he unsuccessfully auditioned for the roll of Russell in Krush Groove.
He went on to direct several hip hop videos in the mid 80’s.
And, of course, in the late 80’s Ted Demme of MTV approached him to host Yo! MTV Raps. This exposure launched him into the forefathers of the culture as he was part of the group that introduced hip hop to much of the world.
He also appeared on the song “Change the Beat” on an album by Bill Laswell who also worked with Afrika Bambaataa.
Check “Change the Beat”
Additional information by Ed Roberts and Matthias