Eminem Told Phresher to Take His Time With ‘PH’ Album
Six months removed from an Eminem guest spot that gave him more attention than ever, Phresher is back with his debut album, PH. Checking in at a hearty 16 tracks, the Brooklyn rapper's first LP is a colorful assortment of energetic bangers that reinforce the rapper's presence in the crop of rap's upper echelon up-and-comers.
Although he broke into the rap world's collective consciousness with the raucous 2016 single "Wait a Minute," this BK artist is out to prove he's no one-note rapper. "My mindset going into the project was, 'I gotta show my versatility,'" Phresher says during a stop by XXL's Manhattan office. "I gotta let people know how versatile I am. I gotta let them know that Phresher is not just gonna get on records and scream all day."
Phresher's efforts to play around with his style ring through loud and clear on songs like his romantic tune, "You Do," and "Papi Chulo," a track that finds him rocking the player's hat as he mixes his bars with a bit of Spanish. Of course, he's also got his "Like Dis (Remix)," which finds him trading his typically adrenaline-fueled flows with the similarly energetic legend Busta Rhymes.
Speaking with XXL, PH discusses his new album, advice he's gotten from Eminem, Drake versus Pusha-T and more.
XXL: Why did you decide to name your album PH?
Phresher: I wanna say it's as simple as my name, but it was more or less, like, some people be like, "Yo, it's Phresher with a F." So I'm letting 'em know, "Ay listen, get the F outta here, this is PH." PH is a whole other character. Like, Phresher is one person and PH is a whole 'nother character. It's 2.0 Phresher—the purest form of Phresher. It's a whole 'nother level when it come to PH—that guy is crazy. He's a different kinda person. I just wanted to make sure people knew what they was getting into when they see the actual cover. Like "PH." I got it on my back. That's how serious I stand behind it.
What is the difference between your normal identity and your rap identity?
It's super not a big difference 'cause, you know, I'm me even when I'm rapping. But [when I'm not rapping] I'm pretty like, quiet. Like, people see me, like, "Oh my god, you don't seem like the same person in the videos." I'm saving all that energy for the videos. I'm saving all that energy for the stage. You see me after shows, I'm pretty like—mellow. But I'm a animal, you know.
Your album has 16 songs. How many tracks did you originally record for the LP?
I wanna say about 80 songs. I'm always just recording. Like, every week, just getting it in. Recording at least four records a week. That's one thing I learned throughout this process. You gotta stay hungry, you gotta stay busy, you gotta stay recording. You don't know which record is gonna go regardless of how you feel. So I just feel like the more records you do to choose from and hear, the better chance of the album being solid.
Eminem put you on his Revival single, "Chloraseptic," and he's a fan of your work. Did he give you any advice about making this project?
Of course. Em' was a big fan of [Phresher's Wait a Minute EP]. I wasn't as big on it because I know that wasn't my best work. But he loves it. But just for Em' man, just like, wild talks man. It's more or less like, "Man, stay focused. You keep going." Em' always telling me I'm the shit. I try to compliment Em' on some shit, he trying to tell me how big a fan he is of me. Marshall—he got me calling him Marshall, man—but Marshall is a good person man. He gave me a lot of good advice. He said, "Keep going at your pace." He used to tell me, "Move at your pace, because that's the best pace. You don't wanna be moving at somebody else pace and you miss something. So make sure you take your time and give the people what you want them to hear. Tell them what you want them to know."
What song did you have the most fun recording for your album?
I would say "Papi Chulo" is my favorite, 'cause it was so different. I went from Phresher to Rico Suave quick.
How did your collab with Famous Dex come about?
My manager knows his manager. We were always seeing each other before. We was actually on tour. My manager and his manager set up the tour that he was on and I ended up getting on the tour. Once we get on the tour, me and him hit it off. And then from there, it kinda happened—let's do it.
Drake and Pusha-T had been throwing disses at each other on wax before J Prince reportedly told Drizzy not to respond because the disses were becoming too disrespectful. Do you think you can go too low when making a diss song?
There is no too low. It's like a fight: I'ma bite you, scratch the shit out you, I'ma talk about your mother, your father, your dog, your pastor. It's never no low when it comes to music man. And battling, man, like I said, I'ma knock you out, you gon' knock me out. I just love when it stays on wax. Anything off wax I don't support, but anything on wax—it's a competition, man. You know we dog each other, we slap fives later, you feel me? Half of the time, these dudes that be going at it or whatever, you see them make up with a record later on. It's really not that serious—but for the time being, we in it, and we gon' brawl. I'm glad J Prince put a stop to that, that was cool. But, again, I was with it as long as they kept it on wax. That's everything. Keep it on wax. We don't wanna see nobody get hurt, no violence. Black excellence—we just tryna get money out here.
How do you find the time to stay in tip-top shape while you're working on an album and going on tour?
That was a major key. I had to learn that. In the beginning—when I first started doing music—it was tough. You're running around. But then you just find time for certain things. You just realize that certain things are more important than others. And staying healthy and working on your body is very important. It's a big selling [point] for my brand. If I don't take care of my body, the brand lose value.
What are you planning for the rest of your year? What does the next step look like for Phresher?
Next step is just being smarter man. More business—being an entrepreneur. Music put me in so many other fields. This year, we looking to act. We looking to deal with a lot of brands, clothing. I love fashion. I love to dress up. So we gon' definitely do fashion world, we gon' do movies, we gon' do short films. We gon' do all that. Musically we gon' definitely take it to another level. It's time for me to really get my CEO on, for real. Like, take a hold of everything in my circle. I feel like I let a lot of things just slip through the cracks here and there musically. But now it's time to take the entrepreneur shit to another level.
You mention the idea of broadening your entrepreneurship. What are some other business ventures you're trying to get into?
So far, the not-for-profit side. Like I said, I'm the ultimate humanitarian. I love kids. I'm gonna definitely do a lot of youth things. Like AAU things. [I'm] looking to open up this building. I wanna open up this not-for-profit building where kids can come [for] after school programs, 'cause they closing everything—especially in my neighborhood. So I just wanna wrap my hand around the youth. Really get something going for them [at] the top of 2019. That's one of my biggest goals—really short-term goals. Anything to help the kids, you know?
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