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 DMC 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 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.
Fredro 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.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. Fredro first met Suave at the battle in Ajax Park (Jamaica, New York) (now called "Dr. Charles R. Drew Park").
1984-1988: Breakdancing and rhyming
Fred started out doing breakdancing after watching the movie "Beat Street" (1984), he was known by the name Magic.
"...The culture was getting push to us. Russell Simmons, Krush Groove, Beat Street, all those movies. You was affected by the culture. Everybody was or rapping or djing or graffiti. And you had to be something just to be cool. So i started out doing breakdancing thing just like everybody else. I go by the name Magic."
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.
"...I moved to Queens when I was thirteen, and that's when hip-hop started for me. LL Cool J made me want to become an MC. He had the girls and the cars. So I started rhyming on Rockaway Boulevard in Queens when I was fourteen or fifteen."
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. In an interview with Brian Coleman, Fredro Starr remembers:
"...The first time I picked up a mic in front of a crowd was at a place called Baisley Park. It was a spot where people in Queens went to do their thing. But every time they had a jam at the place, there was a shoot-out. I didn't give a fuck - every week I'd go there to rhyme. I didn't care if there were bullets flying or not, I knew that was what I wanted to do with my life."
1986: Nu Tribe Barbershop
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. In this barbershop Fred and Kirk will make money until they hear on the radio their song "Throw Ya Gunz" in November 1992.
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.
"...B-Wiz was my producer when I was fifteen and sixteen, even. When all the other kids was getting turntables, he had an SP-12 . He was one of the first niggas in the hood with a beat machine."
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.
"...That very first record was produced by a producer named B-Wiz. B-Wiz was the first producer of that record. He produced “Ah, And We Do It Like This,” and a lot of the original shit in like ’89, ’87, and ’88 for Onyx."
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:
"...Yeah, that’s true. Fredro my man though. Trop is Sticky, I don’t know him a Sticky. I know him as Tropical. Fred has cut my hair before, I’ve knew them dudes a long time. They used to work at Nu Tribe Barbershop. They first song was “Ahh, And We Do It Like This” on Profile Records. They used to have a different type of style, but that was the style back then. The whole club style."
In 1990, Fredro and his cousin Sticky featured in Diane Martel's documentary about the dancers of New York - "House Of Tres"
1991: Jam Master Jay
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. 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. 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".
"...When we went to the studio we made two records. One was called 'Stick and Move' and the other was called 'Exercise'. And they both were crazy! When Jay heard the songs he was like, 'Yo, I love the group'."
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.
1991: Chyskillz replaced B-Wiz
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.
"...When I met Jam Master Jay, I told B-Wiz, who was doin’ his thing, sellin’ drugs, goin’ to Baltimore. I said, “Yo, don’t go down South, I just met Jam Master Jay.” He went down south, he got murdered... When he got murdered, we lost that sound. When we lost that sound, that was the end."
That's when Kirk and Fredro come up with the new Onyx logo. The bloody letter X in the name Onyx is a tribute to the memory of B-Wiz. Madface is the face of Sticky Fingaz. At that time the group came up with a new image - the bald head fashion.
"...When B-Wiz got killed, one day I just went into the barbershop and cut all my hair off. I wanted to start clean. Then Stick and them did it and we had an image going. I didn’t plan it, but it was a cool style for us."
So the group needed a new music producer. Queens, New York City M.C. Neek The Exotic introduced DJ Chyskillz to the group Onyx in 1991. In Brian Coleman's book Check the Technique Fredro described how Onyx met their new producer:
"...We met Chyskillz on Jamaica Avenue one day. We was buying weed at the weed spot and Chy was chasing my truck down the street, yelling, 'I got beats!' His stuff back then was jazzy, on some Tribe Called Quest shit, but it was hot. I knew he could put beats together right away. We brought him into our zone and made him do some grimy shit."
1993-1998: Def Jam years
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.
2000: Solo career
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.
2003: 100 MAD
In 2003 Fredro Starr start a new movement "100 MAD". His younger brother Who$ane did a logo consisting of shot from Onyx's "Throw Ya Gunz" video. Sticky Fingaz came up with the term "100 MAD". It means the following: "No matter where in the world Onyx, there are always 100 crazy niggas with it". Today "100 MAD" consist of Onyx, Snowgoons, Dope D.O.D., N.B.S., Larceny, MakemPay, SickFlo, Snak The Ripper, Jay Nice
2006: Yung Onyx
In 2006, Starr formed a new group called Yung Onyx, but the group later disbanded.
"...They don’t rap about jewelry and cars... they rap about the block. The new crew of youngsters - Khaos, 18; Khaos’ cousin Skitso, 19; M.I., 16; and Primo Starr, 19-assembled to re-create themselves in the image of their predecessors. The three MCs and R&B singer "Primo Starr" caught the ear of Fredro Starr, who decided to executive-produce their debut album Bangout, which was released on Sept. 11. The Queens-based Hip-Hop quartet is set to release their first single "In Da Hood Like" under South Side Records.Their musical style, described as gritty, grimy, and "strictly for the streets" is not only a reflection of former Onyx members, but also of present-day artists such as Sticky Fingaz, whom the group looks up to."
2011: Children's books
In 2011, Fredro Starr released two children's books: "Lil Freddy: The Red Sock" and "Lil Freddy: The Bully Kid".
2011: Mad Money Movement
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. 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)
2013: Live 4Ever, Die 2Day
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". On January 8, 2014 he released the official video for the single.
2015: Fredro Starr vs. Keith Murray
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.
2018: Firestarr 2
On March 9, 2018 Fredro Starr released his 4th solo album "Firestarr 2" on Mad Money Movement. 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. A few tracks recorded for the album "Firestarr 2" was featured on the mixtape "Live 4Ever, Die 2Day" (2013)
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"
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.
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).
In 2012, Starr starred in 20 episodes for the web series 16 Bars with Fredro Starr. Director: Myster DL.
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.
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. 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." 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 an 2008 interview for AllHipHop Fredro made a comment about 50 Cent:
"...50 is a smart businessman and at the end of the day we gave him respect. We put him on records when we was at the top of the game. He didn't even have a car. We gave him respect on the strength of Jam Master Jay. What did we get in return? Someone talking slick on mixtapes? Swinging on n****s? So now I feel like it's a problem."
In an 2008 interview for C.O.D DVD (now called Forbez DVD) Fredro talked about relations with R&B singer Brandy, but later said "I never meant to put her on blast and say she gave me head. It was a joke and the media ran with it. Thats what it was."
On September 18, 2012, Fredro Starr rapped a freestyle that was aimed at fellow pioneer New York City rapper DMX. On September 26, 2012, during a radio interview DMX responded to the diss.
Charlamagne Tha God
Fredro Starr and Sticky Fingaz was stopped by The Breakfast Club to talk about new music on Monday, July 28th, 2014. Things turned sour after Charlamagne Tha God brought up Fredro's former relationship with Brandy and past drama with 50 Cent. Fredro calls Charlamagne a pussy and almost fights him saying, "Y'all need to stop with all of that. Let that be what it's going to be, son. You bringing up the past. Let's move into the future."
His cousin and fellow Onyx group member is Sticky Fingaz. Starr has two children, with his wife, model Korina Longin, whom he married in 2007.
DiscographyMain articles: Fredro Starr discography and Onyx discography
- Studio albums
- 2001: Firestarr
- 2003: Don't Get Mad Get Money
- 2013: Made In The Streets
- 2018: Firestarr 2
Awards and nominations
|1994||American Music Awards of 1994||"Bacdafucup"||Rap/Hip-Hop New Artist||Nominated|
|1994||1994 Soul Train Music Awards||"Bacdafucup"||Best Rap Album||Won|
|1999||Black and White (1999 drama film)||Fredro Starr (uncredited)|
|1999||Light It Up||Rodney J. Templeton|
|2001||Save the Last Dance||Malakai|
|2001||Commitments (TV Movie)||Fredro Starr|
|2004||Almost Gangsta (Short)||Ice Cold|
|2005||Detroit Hoopz||Erick Powell|
|2006||Loyalty & Respect||Fredro Starr|
|2006||Forbidden Fruits||Brian Casey|
|2007||Vegas Vampires||Carl Weaver|
|2007||All Lies on Me||J-Dub|
|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||The Eddie Black Story||Psycho|
|2011||Queen of Media||Lamont|
|2011||After Hours: The Movie||Rocko|
|2015||Diamond Ruff||Diamond Ruff|
|2015||The Road Movie (Short)||Fredro Starr|
|2017||The Fearless One||Wali|
|2018||Here Comes the Sun||John|
|2019||Slam: Let the Boyz B Boyz||Run|
|1994||Law & Order (Competence)||Tony 'G-Dog' Rowland|
|1995||New York Undercover (Student Affairs)||Alphonse|
|1996-2000||Moesha||Quinton 'Q' Brooks|
|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||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|
|2016||The Grind TV 1.0 (TV Series) (Theft)||Pipino|
- Rap Jam: Volume One (1995) as Fredro Starr
- Slam: Let the Boyz B Boyz (TBA)