|Fred Lee Scruggs, Jr.|
|Magic, Kool Fredro, Mickey Billy, Never, Firestarr, Dro Starr|
April 18, 1971|
Flatbush, Brooklyn, New York
|Origin||South Jamaica, Queens, New York|
|Genres||Hardcore hip hop, Gangsta Rap, East Coast hip hop|
|Breakdancer, Rapper, Record producer, Actor, Author|
|Labels||JMJ Records, Def Jam, Mad Money Movement|
|Onyx, 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 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, for which he earned a CableACE Award nomination as "Best Supporting Actor". 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 Norwood. 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 Fletcher (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").
"...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."
"...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."
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 [sampler]. 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 New 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"
"...I met Jay at the "Freaknic" on Saturday in Queens on the beach. It was a traffic jam, and next car over was Jay's car. He was in a van, black van driven by his older brother Marvin. And they was "rolling up". I've seen smoke coming out a van, and it smells like weed. So I look, it was Jay smoking weed. I'm like "Yo! Jay, we can hit that with you?". And he like "Coming at a van!". And we were at a van with Jay, we smoke with Jam Master Jay at a van. Before I left I had to tell 'em: "I'm a rapper, man...". So he was like: "Yo'! Take my number ...". That was it!"
Jay give them about two months to get a demo, but Suave and Big DS were in jail for committing robbery. They were replaced on the demo by Fredro Starr's cousin, Sticky Fingaz, who at that time was pursuing a solo career under the name Trop. Fredro and Sticky Fingaz recorded only one song, "Stik 'N' Muve", which Jam Master Jay liked enough to sign the group to his label, JMJ Records. Onyx was signed to his label JMJ Records in 1991 for a single deal ("Nigga Bridges"), then for an EP deal followed by an album deal
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 - bald-headedness.
"...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."
"...And the group had brought a skilled new producer into their camp: Chyskillz (Chylow Parker), who produced or co-produced a majority of Bacdafucup . "We met Chyskillz on Jamaica Avenue one day," remembers Fredro. "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."
In August 1993, ONYX started working a new album tentatively called "U.S.G." (United States Ghettos), dismissing the name "Bacdafucup Part 2", to which they will return after 10 years. This album never came out! One of the songs from this album - "Black Ghost Wit Gunz", the studio session of which can be seen on the DVD "ONYX: 15 Years Of Videos, History And Violence"
In 1994, ONYX started working on a new album "All We Got Iz Us". Since Chyskillz left the group, the group needed a new producer. So Jam Master Jay taught Fredro how to produce music. Especially for this album Fredro Starr came up with a new nickname Never.
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. After the low sales of Shut 'Em Down album, ONYX left Def Jam in 1998.
"...Only four years earlier, Onyx were "saving Def Jam," as Sticky Fingaz put it, but now they were hoping the label would save them. Their third--and what would become their final--album on Def Jam, Shut 'Em Down, barely went gold. "Our unity with [Jam Master] Jay was broken, our unity with the label was broken," says Sticky, who came by the office one day and threw a tantrum. "I flipped out, pulling plaques off the wall, throwing shit around, mad," he remembers."
According to Fredro Starr's interview on Def Jam's "Survival Of The Illest", in the summer of 1998, ONYX was working on a collaboration album called "Afficial Nastee" with All City, Gang Green. The whole album was produced by Self Service, producer of Shut 'Em Down album
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 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
"...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."
In 2011, Fredro Starr released two children's books: "Lil Freddy: The Red Sock" and "Lil Freddy: The Bully Kid".
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 (EP)" (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". On January 8, 2014 he released the official video for the single.
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.
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". Fredro 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"
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, Fredro Starr starred in 12 episodes for the web series "Tales Of The Industry". Director: Sanz Pareil TV (Sanz Pareil & Brian "BK" Kim).
In 2012, Fredro 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 magazine, 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.
|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||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|