Rapper Fred the Godson (real name Fredrick Thomas) has passed away due to complications from coronavirus, per Complex. The South Bronx native was a constant presence on the rap and hip-hop scenes.
Pitchfork recounted the rapper’s career. Fred rose to fame on the rap scene as a member of hip-hop magazine XXL‘s 2011 freshmen class, appearing on the cover with several featured artists who would achieve massive acclaim in their own careers, including Kendrick Lamar, Meek Mill, Big K.R.I.T. and Mac Miller.
“I call that the all-star game,” Fred said in a 2016 Breakfast Club interview recounting the class. “You work through the year and you just keep going, and they just call you out for your individual accolades. The top 11 met up, and that was just crazy to me. That’s the biggest thing thus far to happen to Fred the Godson.”
Thomas never signed to a major label, though claimed he came close to doing so with Def Jam during JAY-Z’s tenure as president, ultimately failing to do so once JAY-Z left. He expressed frustration with his lack of a label in a 2017 interview with Sway.
“I’m not saying I’m the best rapper in the world,” Thomas said. “I just know I’m better than a lot of the shit that’s out now. Sometimes, you just think, ‘What the hell’s going on?’”
Fred rose to fame and earned his spot on the XXL cover on the strength of his 2010 mixtape Armageddon. He was a constant figure and presence on the rap and hip-hop scenes across the decade, with several releases, collaborations and guest spots. He had already released two comeback hits this year, January’s Training Day and March’s Payback.
The rapper joins a growing list of individuals who have been infected and ultimately passed away due to complications from coronavirus, including Fountains of Wayne bassist and founder Adam Schlesinger, legendary folk singer-singwriter John Prine and famed jazz patriarch Ellis Marsalis. Globally, there have been over 2.7 million confirmed cases and almost 200,000 deaths.
Thomas is survived by his wife, LeeAnn Jemmott, and their two children. He was 35.