Brooklyn rapper Phresher is about to leave his mark on the game - wait a goddamn minute and get acquainted.
Brooklyn rapper Phresher may be relatively new to the game, but the "Wait A Minute" rapper already moves like a veteran. With an impressive roster of collaborators under his belt, from Remy Ma to Cardi B, 2 Chainz to Eminem, Phresher has already gone places up-and-comers can only dream of. And that's all without a debut studio album to his name.
Coming off a massive 2017 campaign, which saw the release of his Wait A Minute EP, as well as guest appearances on Eminem's Revival, Phresher took some important measures to solidify his presence in the game. Being the sole hip-hop feature on Em's latest album certainly didn't hurt, and his energetic baritone helped propel album highlight "Chloraseptic" to new heights. Shortly thereafter, the rapper teamed up with Tidal for the exclusive documentary Where I'm From, which found Phresher returning to his hood, opening up about a variety of topics.
When I spoke to the rapper a few weeks back, the game was still recovering from Eminem's "Chloraseptic Remix." Phresher was in good spirits, clearly pleased with his trajectory, and why wouldn't he be? His music has already amassed millions of views. He's already collaborated with one of hip-hop's dominant legends. His album, PH, is set to drop in February. Suffice it to say, big things are brewing for the Brooklyn emcee. Monumental, even.
Hey what’s up, Phresher?
Yo, what’s going on. Everything good, working hard.
Congratulations on “Chloraseptic” and the remix. I’ve been listening to that track all week. Did you come up listening to Eminem?
I’m a big fan, like a super Em fan. This feature is bigger than just a feature for me. It was everything, because I grew up listening to Eminem and Jay-Z. They were my favorite artists, they share the same spot in my heart, you feel me? When I got the call from Paul it was amazing. I had to sit down, and really make sure it was real.
That’s crazy, man. Listening to the “Chloraseptic Remix,” it reminded me of the Marshall Mathers LP track “Remember Me,” with Sticky Fingaz and RBX. Same vibe.
That’s facts. That’s facts. “Came home and somebody musta broke in the back window, and stole two loaded machine guns and both of my trench coats, sick sick dreams of picnic scenes, two kids sixteen, with M-16s.”
I remember when 2 Chainz was talking about laying down his verse back in the summer, before any news about Revival ever dropped. When did you actually record your verse?
I want to say in October. I recorded my verse and hook - 2 Chainz verse was already done when I hit the studio. I don’t know if there was always meant to be two versions, but I’m glad he released the remix. It gave the album an extra spark. You got the album, and then he heard what people were saying, and he dropped the remix. The left hook and then that right hook.
It’s almost as if it was planned. Em clearly recorded the verse after hearing response to the album.
Don’t get Em mad, man. Don’t do that.
In your Tidal documentary Where I'm From, you made an interesting comparison between rap and sports, where you’re always striving to be better than the competitors. When you were recording “Chloraseptic,” what was it like knowing you’d be trading verses with two elite lyricists?
As much as I want to say it was another day in the office, I was very conscious about who I was between, where I was going - an Em record. You don’t want to get to the point where you’re trying to compete with Em. Stay in your lane, do what do you, but at the same time I wanted to compliment what Em was doing, what Chainz was doing.
You mentioned coming up on Jay-Z and Eminem, but what were your earliest hip-hop memories? Are there any other artists in particular who still resonate with you today?
Lil Wayne. As much as I’m a fan Em and Jay, Lil Wayne really changed my life. Cash Money, from “Back That Azz Up” and all of that. I gravitated to alot of Southern music, you understand? Wayne was it for me - tattoos, dreads, braids at the time. I was like wow, if I were an artist, that’s who I would be. “Bling Bling” changed my life.
I wanted to talk about how people consume music these days. I don’t know how you’re getting music as a listener, whether you’re streaming on YouTube, Tidal, Spotify...
I’m streaming. I barely listen to the radio.
Artists used to be defined by albums. Now it’s kind of moved toward the single. How do you feel about that shift?
I’m okay with it. I love the shift toward streaming - it just creates so many ways to get music. I just feel like as artists we should always keep working to put out the best music we can at a particular point, whether that’s an album or a single. Sometimes the project won’t be ready cause of things you can’t control, and that’s where a single plays a role.
One single can get you through a whole year. I’ve seen it happen. One single can change your life. Always have the next one ready.
What was the last album you played from front to back, no skips?
Oh man, wow. I listened to a good one recently too...who was it? I listen to a lot of R&B...You know what it was? It was actually Tory Lanez, his mixtape where he remixed a bunch of old-school records. He had a bunch of samples on it, so he couldn’t sell it. That was an awesome project - shout out to Tory for that one.
You worked with Illa Da Producer (“Wait A Minute”) in the past. I was wondering, how’d you link up with him and start making music together?
That’s my dawg, man. He changed my life. I went out to Miami, I met him at Cool & Dre’s house. This guy was playing beat after beat, fire after fire, I was like “oh my goodness we gotta work.” And he believed in me, he gave me my first shot at real production. I appreciate him for that.
Dope. You guys clearly made an impression on Eminem and his camp. I’m happy for you. Still, with the fame comes the increase in haters - they can’t help it - do you ever find yourself getting bothered by the haters?
I’ve learned to just ignore it, and embrace. You gotta learn how to embrace the hate. I’d rather be hated on than to not be acknowledged at all. If you getting hated on, you doing something right. You’re doing something noticeable. I remember when nobody cared about my music. I’d rather have you critique it and say “I don’t like it” - that means you heard it.
On that note, have your social media habits changed? When you post something on Twitter or Instagram, that can reach a lot of people.
Yeah definitely man. You’re very conscious of what you post, what you talkin bout, what you support. Everything is blown up - they just take your words, and put a magnifying glass. Be conscious of it - you don’t want people to take things the wrong way, and make it seem like you’re a cruel person.
True. Still, one of the perks of fame is the fan love, and people have been down with your movement. The shows must be crazy. What’s the ritual like, on the day of a performance?
We get up, we get a good meal. We do a soundcheck. I might go shopping, buy an outfit for the day. That makes the time go by. I watch a lot of sports, I might catch some sports, and then I get to the show. When you see me before and after a show, you’d never know I performed. It’s funny, I’m a wild guy, but if you see me you might think “is he going to give a good show, cause he looks down.” But really, it’s just me saving my energy for the moment.
Do you have any crazy stories you’d like to share, for the fans?
Ah man! I was on the Riff RaFF tour, and we were in New York, when these girls jumped on stage, and they’re trying to pull my pants down. I’m performing the whole show holding the front of my pants with my ass out - it was crazy. One girl came, security pulled her off, and then the next one came...damn.
Damn! Though I suppose there are worse fates...On a more serious note, how did you end up linking with Tidal for your documentary?
It came about from the Eminem situation. They decided to walk around with me, and document my life. That was dope. I really appreciate Tidal for that, man. That was my first time being documented by a big platform.
Having watched that documentary, seeing you go through your hood, you reminded me of Luke Cage out there. You got so much love from the people. When did you realize you were having such a big impact on your community?
I’ve always been the face of my neighborhood. I was the best football player - my uncle actually went pro, and everyone expected me to go pro, but a lot of things got in between it. I’ve always been that respectful guy. I was helping the old ladies with their bags, pushing their shopping carts. It wasn’t even about the money - I was an only child on my mother’s side so I was spoiled as fuck. I just wanted to be that guy in the neighborhood.
From playing sports in the neighborhood, to running tournaments, to inspiring kids to do better and find that outlet instead of the streets. Since I was young, I’ve been inspiring and leading people in the neighborhood.
You clearly recognize the importance of local business, particularly up-and-coming fashion designers. I can tell that you’re into fashion - are you still rocking the custom PH “man-bag,” by the way.
Yeah, definitely. We got the messenger bag, we do all that. I’ve always been different, I’m like the outcast. I’m never afraid to do what anybody’s not doing. I do what I think is cool.
Speaking of fashion, any plans on branching out?
Acting and fashion, managing other artists. Like I said, you’ll really get to know me this year.
Going back to your analogy on rap and sports, do you feel like you reached your peak, or is your best work yet to come?
My best work is yet to come. It’s scary. No one really knows what I can do. Now it’s my time. The possibilities are endless. Time to let the people know - I’m nowhere near my peak.
What can we expect from a Phresher album?
Everything man. We rapping, we singing. I’m doing everything on this project. I’m showing my versatility. There’s nothing I can’t do. And now it’s time to show the people. It’s going to be a roller-coaster of emotions. There’s going to be the downs, the ups, the things that motivate you, the “fuck the world.” Everything. Human beings, we’re moody. Some days we up, some days we down, we’re sad, we’re mad. That’s what the project is going to be about. It’s an emotional roller coaster.
You have a title?
PH. Out in February.
Any final thoughts you want to get out there?
I wanna thank Tidal for documenting my life - I appreciate them for that big time. I wanna give a shoutout to my team - DGYDZ - the team. I want to shout out Empire for believing in me. My moms, my dad, for having my back, and my kids - I love ya’ll.