Small was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and grew up in the city’s Trenchtown district. His house was a few minutes walk from Coxsone Dodd‘s influential record studio Studio One.
His neighbours were Jacob Miller and Ranking Joe. Ranking Joe took Freddy under his wing and taught him the basics skills of performing. Freddy’s natural ability meant he was quickly enlisted to work with Lt. Stichie (of “Natty Dread” fame) and then later with Sugar Minott. It was performing on Minott’s soundsystem that founded Freddy’s fame in Jamaica.
He recorded his first single (“Zoo Party”) in 1985 for Studio One.
He released his first album, Body Lasher, in 1986, and that year had six top ten hits in Jamaica, including a number one with “Joker Lover”, a collaboration with Pinchers.
After successful touring in the US under the Chrysalis record label, Freddy came to England in 1987. His first UK work was a collaboration with Asher D called, Raggamuffin Hip-Hop. This album created a new style of music that was a fusion of Jamaican ragga and UK hip-hop. The anthemic title track has the much sampled vocal, “The ragga-muffin, the ragga-muffin, hip-hop”. Freddy also managed to influence and support fledgling UK reggae stars, Top Cat, Tenor Fly and Prento Youth who went on to the legendary Coxsone Sound and the record label Congo Natty.
This album created even more interest for Freddy. Artists such as Dr. Dre, Cypress Hill, David Morales and Norman Cook all requested collaborations and others like The Prodigy, Meli’sa Morgan (“Through the Tears”), Salt ‘n’ Pepa and KRS-One all sampled his unique voice.
This fame culminated in Freddy attempting and breaking the World Record for World’s fastest rapper in 1989 as part of the Capital radio Music Festival. Eventually Freddy broke the record four times taking it from 346 to 598 syllables a minute. First and second time in UK (in Covent Garden and on BBC’s Record Breakers show where he appeared with Roy Castle) and two times in America (New York Empire State Building and in Washington). Renowned live performances have always been Freddy’s hallmark, most notably at the New Music Seminar in New York and Tim Westwoods live rap shows on Capital radio.
He was signed to Chrysalis Records in 1991 by A&R VP Duff Marlowe, joining Gang Starr and Arrested Development as part of Marlowe’s stateside re-make of the UK rock label, releasing the album Stress.
By the end of the 1990s Freddy was exhausted. His hectic life-style had taken it out of him so he found time to return to Jamaica and re-discover his roots. Whilst he still lent vocals to prominent dancehall tracks in Jamaica his next major work did not come until he came back to the UK, with a new lease of life. Freddy teamed up with renowned dub producer The Rootsman in 2000 to make the new album, Old School – New School (Third Eye Music).
Since then Freddy has been making new music and recording and training dancehall artists.