“Most of the people I knew or grew up with in Liberia are now deceased. Almost all of them were brutally murdered. I have no childhood friends left and I haven’t been to the place where I grew up since I left Liberia in 1990. I’ve spent most of my adult years in New Jersey and recently came to Toronto, Canada to record my debut album.”
Freddy Will made it out of Kakata, Liberia mere weeks before rebels raided their family home. His family narrowly escaped the masacare in Liberia. Later, news from Kakata reported rumors that when the rebels reached Kakata, no one was speared in their house to house invasion. Luckily, Freddy escaped to Sierra Leone before the last batch of rebels got there.
There were very close calls on his rather unpleasant journey to Sierra Leone. This was his first time leaving Liberia and at age 12 he had more knowledge of how to operate a rifle than he did his algebra.
In the early 90’s Freetown was a social haven. Nightlife was thriving, street life became popular, waves upon waves of refugees poured into the city from the war torn provinces while everyone expected the rebels to attack the city at anytime. Freddy attended high school in the East end. After school he carried a boom box around playingNaughty by Nature albums. He knew the lyrics to all their songs and lip synched “OPP”, “Yoke the Joker” “Hip Hop Hooray and “Ghetto Bastard” all the time.
He made new friends and soon started to perform his music at local talent and high school variety shows. As the war drew closer from the provinces, he wrote about violence and expanded on his list of rap icons to include Dr. Dre, Snoop, Scarface, Nas, Tupac, the Luniz and Biggie.
In 1995, Freddy moved to The Gambia to avoid the war in Sierra Leone. At this point in his life he had seen enough and frustration was starting to set in. His mother had gone to the States right after the Liberian war to join his father and help secure a new home there since the ones in Liberia and Sierra Leone were lost.
Depression began to set in on him heavily and he began to write intense angry lyrics. The Gambia presented many opportunities for Freddy Will to master his art. He performed all over the country, from Banjul to Fajara, Latrikunda German to Senegambia, Freddy became well known for his battle rap and controversial lyrics. Even though he was a refugee in The Gambia, he kept his spirits up when showcasing his talent everywhere he performed with high energy. As the time passed, Freddy grew wearier and decided to travel to neighbouring Senegal for a change of scene .
When the war in Sierra Leone started to get more serious, he began to hang out with the soldiers deployed in the provinces. He ran their errands, did chores for them and helped carry their bags. In exchange, they taught him how to use several weapons including automatic rifles and small explosives. Sometimes he traveled with the soldiers into rebel territories where one day the soldiers he was with came under attack. Freddy Will, aged 14 at the time, participated in some fire fights where many army units took causalities. Everyone who survived the battles left with some sort of cut or bruising if not a fatal injury. Once, Freddy got grazed from a stray bullet in his left hip. One day, a Colonel spoke to Freddy Will and put him on a cargo truck bound for Freetown charging him to return to his family and to go back to school. He went to Grassfield and lived with two of his Aunts.
Once he arrived in New Jersey in 1998, life changed. Freddy reunited with his parents for the first time since he was 12 years old. Now a grown man, he wanted a fresh start with a decent shot at life. He moved out of his parents home shortly and settled down with a determination to work hard and earn a decent keep.
That’s an incredible story, right? It’s not often we get such amazing life stories from our artists here at CD Baby, but we’d love to hear from you, if you’ve got an interesting bio.
So, enjoy the video below for the song “Providence (feat. Carvin Winans)” and then go buy his new album Dark Horse From Romarong … a city of kings on CD Baby.