Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Interview: Meet Phre$hy Duzit, Hip-Hop's Rising Star

Back in the day, urban music was dominated by male machismo and the hugely inflated ego's of rappers rhyming about their sexual exploits, rolls-royces and gun-toting, not to forget the obligatory use of the term "bad ass mother fuckers" in every line. 
But thankfully the new generation of artists are demonstrating how potent lyricism and social consciousness can change the tide of hip-hop and rap.

From Drake, Flying Lotus and Kendrick Lamar doing it for the boyz, to Iggy Azalea, Angel Haze and Brooke Candy doing it for the girlz, these are the new break-out faces of the genre, rivalling and in some cases even eclipsing older innovators such as Snoop Dogg (or Snoop Lion as he's now known), Kanye, Jay Z, Foxy Brown, Lil' Kim, Busta Rhymes and Dr. Dre, among others.

The internet is largely responsible for the explosion of new artists on the scene, providing a mainstream promotional platform for new music, and propelling up-and-coming names into the limelight in a way the older generation could never have thought of.  Nowhere is this journey more prevalent than in hip-hop and rap, where the ever-growing culture of free mixtapes and EP's is a testament to the growing number of new faces making the leap upwards via online circles, proving in most cases, that we should believe the hype.

Embarking on his own journey right now is Phreshy Duzit, a songwriter, producer, rapper, and singer, Phre$hy (as he's known), creates an experimental fusion of Detroit roots meets Brooklyn sounds, and visually explorative cinematic-style videos, bringing a level of authenticity to his work which has quickly earned him an online and mainstream following. Together with producer Nylz, his relentless promotion of free music across social media, gained recognition from Atlantic Records who signed him, proving that big pimpin' your agenda does work. 
At just 23-years-old, he has already built up a loyal following, so naturally when he popped up on my radar, I wanted to know more. Read my interview with him below, but before you do, check out the official video for "American Love", taken from his "The New Religion" mixtape - I love this, and you should introduce it to your ears too. 

Let's talk about Phreshy Duzit, who is the man behind the name?

Phre$hy is a nickname I've ran with since I was a sophomore in high-school, I had the reputation of being the fly kid in school so everybody began to know me as "Phre$hy". The "Duzit" is just a name that was thrown on by Atlantic Records when I signed with them, for legal purposes. I just go by "Phre$hy" now, sorry for any confusion! [laughs].

How did the rise of Phre$hy come about then? 

It really developed from having a large online following. I didn't really expect to have so much industry attention but with the whole Myspace craze I was getting emails from every major label. I was only about 18 at the time with no manager or anything, I was just a regular kid. My mom didn't even know about any of my music until I literally went to my first meeting.

As an emerging artist you were signed to Atlantic Records very early on, but that relationship didn't work out, why?

Atlantic Records was cool, they handled business correctly with me and always displayed a strong interest in my talent. It went downhill after my immediate team/management were hired to work for Atlantic Records themselves which then began a conflict of interest. The business side of things started to get shaky and I asked for my release. We split on a positive note though, the day I asked for my release papers I was told that I'm always welcome back when I'm ready.

That leads me to think you want to have as much control over your creative output as possible, without comprising what you're about - so what's your goal then?

My goal as an artist is to create a legacy. I'm a fan of innovative shit, I like to create and discover new ways of approaching a song. I think that same reason is what makes artists like Kanye & Kendrick have staying power. I also feel that too many artists right now are following under the influence of trends and are forcing these crap songs in hopes of catching fans off of somebody else's lane. My philosophy as an artist is to create what I enjoy and display it the best way I can through any other medium and just keep it 'G'.

So who influences you musically?

I'm not really big on name-dropping, but I enjoy music by artists that like to push the envelope. I don't like being too influenced, sometimes I just need that little inspiration that comes from hearing a great song. I'm also big on visuals, for some reason movies make me want to make music. I feel like my latest project that's about to drop is like 12 short movies I directed and scored!

Is there a place or location that you love or find inspiration from to create your music?

99% of my music is made in Detroit with my producer/engineer Nylz. I need to be in a cool carpeted home vibe far from all the bullshit. I'm not an artist that has a handful of women and goons around in my studio. It's usually just me and the homie Nylz, some unhealthy snacks and an occasional break to watch conspiracy videos on YouTube!

Outside of performing/recording, what makes you happiest?

Family. Fashion. Food. Fucking. Faygo Cola. Footwear. Females.

Anything beginning with 'F' then! You mention fashion - you've modelled for brands such as KTZ and wear labels like Christopher Shannon and Hood By Air - if you could be a muse for any designer, who would it be?

I really like Raf Simons & Phillip Lim, can't go wrong with either of those.

Could you see yourself bringing out your own fashion range eventually, like Jay Z and Kanye, or collaborating with a designer on a capsule collection?

I'd love to collaborate with someone, especially KTZ and also underground/emerging labels like Hood by Air. A T-Shirt collaboration would be dope as fuck. Hopefully someone will come across this interview and make it happen?! [laughs].

So what's on the horizon for you, what projects should look we out for?

I'm excited to drop my new free album "Detrooklyn" which is done & currently being mastered. I've also spent the last 2 months recording visuals so those will be out shortly as well. Lastly I just wrapped up my first national tour and I'm getting prepared to go on my second tour in the middle of September so be on the lookout!

You can listen to Phre$hy's new single "Detroit Carter" HERE and for the latest info, follow him via Twitter @PhreshyDuzit 


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