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Le Nouvelliste | Teddy Fresh, one of the pioneers of Kreyòl rap, still living in Haiti

1982 – 2022: 40 years have passed since the release of the first Rap Kreyòl song, Vakans, a title on which Master Dji and Sylvie d’Art collaborated. This first attempt, having not had the expected success, Master Dji will continue three to five years later with Tann pou Tann (first version) on a beat by Whoodini and Sispann on an instrumental composed by Raoul Dennis Junior (Ti Ra ). A few years later, the first major Rap project concocted by Haitians was born.

Indeed, in 1992 the first mixtape compilation Rap Kreyòl was born. This project called Rap Kreyòl Compilation, recorded in the production studio Tropic FM and released on the independent label RAP KREYÒL SA under the direction of Master Dji, brought together more than a dozen young aspiring rappers and ragga-style singers.

It was the seminal mixtape that would give the Rap Kreyòl movement its first big boost in 1992 and 1993. Thousands of teenagers and young people across the country owned a copy of this tape. Of this group of assiduous consumers, many of them hit by the rap bug dreamed slyly, but certainly of embarking on a career as a rapper or ragga singer.

All the conditions were met at the time for this new musical explosion in Haiti. It was the time when, on the radio and on TV, we broadcast the sounds and clips of MC Hammer, Kriss Kross, King Daddy Yod, Buju Banton, Shaggy, Ice Cube, Shabba Ranks, LL Cool J, Dr Dre , A Tribe Called Quest, etc. The young followers swore only by their Master Dji guru, Georges Lys Hérard, whose real name was, star host of the program Samedi en Folie on Tropic FM, who stuffed them with a weekly mixture of French, English and Creole Rap. .

It is through this show that Master Dji and a 22-year-old young man named Teddy Fresh will establish their first contact.

Teddy Fresh, whose real name is Teddy Duprat, was born in Carrefour Feuilles on December 27, 1969. He confides that he attended primary school at Frère Adrien in Place Jérémie before emigrating to the United States at the age of 12. . He lived for a few months in Miami with his uncle and then joined his mother in New York. For his academic studies, Teddy says he attended Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn, New York. The adaptation did not go smoothly. Thus during his four years at this establishment he experienced many setbacks while he frequented other young people of his age who would have initiated him into the use of drugs and other offences, admits. he. His mother, once alerted by the lifestyle he was leading and fearing for his future, made the decision to deport him to Haiti, he adds.

Back home, Teddy lived peacefully as if he wanted to give his life a new direction. “One day, I was listening to the show Samedi en Folie, of which I had become an unconditional fan, and I made the decision to telephone Master Dji to offer him to record a spot in English for the show,” recalls Teddy. This meeting proved to be fruitful since this future sensation of the Rap Kreyòl movement will be invited many times to the show Samedi en Folie and will assist Dji in the selection of rap and dance hall titles to be broadcast on the Rap Nation section of the show.

Freestyler at heart, Teddy Fresh, who used to perform in English, will be invited by Master Dji to compose a rap text in Creole that the master thinker will ask him to perform on the beat of the American rap group A Tribe Called Quest. What the young rapper did, thus giving birth to his first song, Punani Boom Boom. It was in April 1992. This single, which would be in rotation on Tropic FM every day, inspired many other young people in Port-au-Prince to want to be heard rapping.

Encouraged by such a fine result, and determined not to stop on such a good path, Master Dji would have hastened shortly after to repeat the experience with other teenagers and young people such as BOP and his group Trezò, Frantzy Jamaican, Elylrac, Elylrac, T-Bird and Supa Deno, Pollo Jamaican, MC Storm, etc.

Noticing the motivation of these young people to use rap in Creole and French as a means of expression to convey their demands, Master Dji decided to record with them the first mixtape compilation of Rap Kreyòl.

For the mixtape, Teddy Fresh recorded a second song, the super hit “Seropozitif” in October 1992. Heavy rap at the time. On the beat of the song “People Everyday” by the American rap group Arrested Development, the one who will become the new sensation of the Haitian rap movement around the years 1992-1993 deposited his captivating and titillating flow, from which flow super cool and easy to remember lyrics. .

Rap Kreyòl’s compilation mixtape was officially released in December 1992. The result: tracks such as Sa Fè m Mal by Frantzy Jamaican, Fò n Evite by Trezò (the BOP clique), Fyète Nèg by Pollo Jamaican, Aprann Tann by Elyrac, Nou Pap Jwe from MC Storm, Nadine from Micanor, Seropozitif and Punami Boom Boom from Teddy Fresh, etc. are on everyone’s lips for fans of this musical genre that has become increasingly popular among music lovers aged 10 to 30 in Haiti.

Unavoidable success for this first collective project of Rap Kreyòl. Teddy Fresh becomes one of the most prolific and promising Haitian rappers to emerge in the Rap Kreyòl movement in 1992. Adored by both Master Dji and the majority of fans of the Kreyòl rap movement for his potential, his flow and his versatility , Teddy Fresh rose to the top thanks to his two songs, “Seropozitif” and “Punani Boom Boom”.

While he was at the top of his career and his two “singles” were a hit on the radio, Teddy Fresh did the unthinkable.

In March 1993, during a televised performance in the courtyard of the National Television of Haiti (TNH) and broadcast live by this same station, Teddy insulted the spectators, first by throwing at them “Mèd” because that the audience, made up in part of people who weren’t really interested in Rap Kreyòl, responded coldly as the rapper tried to liven them up and energize them. The presenters of the show, in this case Fritz Gérald Calixte and Guy Jean Elie, reacted quickly by intervening on the podium to avoid other possible differences in language. But in vain. Teddy Fresh, presumably drunk, suddenly grabbed a microphone that was on the podium and launched the infamous “Gèt Manman” before leaving the stage.
According to the former presenter of the TNH, Fritz Gérald Calixte, the senior officers of the Armed Forces of Haiti (FAdH) who were present during this incident, wanted to arrest Teddy Fresh. Fritz Gérald Calixte and others had to beg captains and colonels to show leniency towards the author of the hit “Seropozitif”.

After this incident, which was a career suicide since in Haiti at the time moral values ​​had a preponderant place in the artistic milieu, Teddy Fresh disappeared from the Rap Kreyòl milieu and never returned to take back the throne, because many radios had censored his music. Teddy had subsequently performed several times with the konpa groups ECHO and FASAD during the interludes during the balls. He even recorded a carnival with ECHO. But that wasn’t enough to wash away his sins in the eyes of the media who didn’t like kreyòl rap so much and some of whom even tried to boycott this expanding genre after the monster success of King Posse, from the Original Rap Staff (ORS) , Brothers Posse and Masters.

Although he composed three new songs between 1994 and 1998, “”Teddy’s Back”, “Lajan” and another song whose title he could not remember, Teddy Fresh says he regrets that none have ever been recorded in the studio or released on the airwaves. But many of my contacts who listened to Teddy Fresh perform the song LAJAN live recognized in this new title a potential success because of the lyrics and the unstoppable flow of the rapper.

How much time has passed since. Teddy Fresh completely disappeared from the scene to the point that even his two hits released in 1992 were untraceable for a very long time. Meanwhile, Rap Kreyòl has had its ups and downs. But, between controversies, unforgettable tragedies and a new wave of solo careers for rappers, Rap Kreyòl is no longer a movement to be boycotted, as some compas animators tried at one time. Today many solo rappers earn money from their album(s), live performances, and endorsements for products and businesses.

In the meantime, after trying in vain to track down Teddy Fresh for years and while some people have run the rumors of his death or his so-called social deviance in the comments of an article I wrote and published in October 2020 on this rapper known to date as one of the pioneers of the Rap Kreyòl movement, I was finally able to make contact with him at the end of December 2021.

Teddy Fresh is still alive. He lives in Haiti and he is in good physical and mental health, he insists.

Wanting at all costs to return to his unfortunate experience in the gardens of the TNH in March 1993, he confides that he really did not regret having acted in this way. He explains that he was disappointed with the public’s indifference to his performance. He admits, however, that in addition to being frustrated by the cold reaction of the spectators, the alcohol also got the better of him. “It was mainly the effect of alcohol that caused this behavior in me,” he says.

As for his current lifestyle, Teddy Duprat, aka Teddy Fresh, aged 52, tells me that he does not work. He has no children. No official wife or girlfriend either. He lives in the family home with his sister in Bon Repos (La Plaine). As a hobby, he listens to music, watches TV and dances alone in his room to pass the time. He also wrote 23 chapters for a humor book he intended to publish years ago; but for lack of motivation and money, he dropped this project.

Teddy knew how to do his best to continue his course of life. While acknowledging that he almost reached the fund due to the abuse of certain psychoactive substances, he claims to have quit smoking since 2011. He who has accumulated more than ten years of sobriety now swears only by abstention, avoiding as best he can. can any alcoholic product.

We wish him good continuity.

Your fans still love you, Teddy

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Miguel Mingolove Roman

Miguel Mingolove Romain is a former music host in Haiti and the United States between 1994 and 2009. Between 1994 and 1999 he hosted the programs Rap des Iles on Radio Provinciale in Gonaïves, Rap à Gogo on Radio Antenne Continentale in Gonaïves, Rythme & Passion on Radio Solidarité in Port-au-Prince; and from 1999 to 2009 the programs Variétés Créoles and Rap Gogo on Radio Ambiance, Radio Megastar, then Radio Méga 1700 AM, and Hit FM in Miami

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