(AllHipHop Breeding Ground)
Fresh Porter has the streets tuned all the way in.
Hailing from Petersburg, Virginia, the rising artist is on his way to becoming one of the greats. Creating an immense local buzz, the trapper turned rapper has the ultimate cosign from Trey Songz, who comes from his hometown. Having served 4 years in prison, he details his story in his lyrics: from behind bars to becoming his own independent label owner.
Growing up during a time when everybody wanted to be the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Porter was always the cool kid who had all the nice clothes. Previously rapping under the name Lil Fresh, it was his friend Lala who gave him the name Fresh Porter in the MySpace days — and it’s stuck ever since. With Paid In Full being his favorite film, and Rich Porter being his favorite character, there was no looking back.
Standing as his own boss and CEO of N$G Records, Porter has been keeping busy working with everyone from Boosie and Pusha T to Dolph and Rich The Kid.
With his newest single “DOGG JIGGA” featuring Gucci Mane’s artist Pooh Shiesty, Porter flexes his ability to not only create street anthems, but hit records.
AllHipHop: Being from Virginia, what were you seeing growing up?
Fresh Porter: Petersburg is a small city, population of 30,000 people at the most. It’s a real tough environment, a lot of violence and a lot of killings there. Also a lot of talented people come out of Virginia. Folks like Trey Songz, Post Malone, Frank Mason who’s actually my cousin, he plays pointguard for the Milkwaukee Bucks. A lot of athletes come out of Virginia, very talented athletes. I actually was an athlete myself, I played basketball. My life started to take a turn, started getting into trouble and getting involved with the streets. I had to turn my life around. I just did 4 years in prison, I’ve only been home for 7 months.
AllHipHop: What were you locked up for?
Fresh Porter: Possession with intent, distribute crack cocaine and marijuana.
AllHipHop: Biggest lesson you learned behind bars?
Fresh Porter: Value your time. Always value your time and value the people who love you. You never know who’s really there for you until you’re at your lowest. The best people, the most important people in your life will usually show up. It also reveals who’s really not there for you.
AllHipHop: At what point did you realize you could do music for a living?
Fresh Porter: During my incarceration. Before I got incarcerated, I did a lot of features. I wasn’t taking it as serious as I should. I was still involved in a lot of street activities: selling drugs, etc. Rap’s always something I wanted since I was 9 years old. I always had the talent but it took me to really sit down, put together a plan, really let it take over my life so I know exactly what I wanted and what’s my calling.
Once I figured out it’s music, I kept going. I have a song out right now on all platforms called “F### Going On.” I dropped the song in December 2015, it did 2 million views on WorldStar. When I was gone, it picked up steam and started spreading. A lot of people started listening to it. When I came home, it’s one of the hottest records in the club. That gave me a lot of motivation, damn they really still rocking with me. They want me to do this music thing. The support from my fans kept me going. Wanting more music, I never wanted to let them down. I always wanted to make my family proud.
AllHipHop: You just released “DOGG JIGGA” with Pooh Shiesty, how’d that record came about?
Fresh Porter: Dogg Jigga is a legendary person from my neighborhood, where I’m from. A legendary guy in the city of Petersburg, period. He was big, real influential on me. He’s the first person to book me for a show, to give me an opportunity to showcase my talents. First person I gave my CD to. When I made one of my first CDs, I gave it to him first. He was always motivational. Always telling me to keep going and keep my head up, stay focused on the music. Paying homage to him, I wanted to do it for Jig.
I had just a regular song, I felt “man if I’ma do it for Dogg, I’ma do it all the way big.” Linking with Pooh Shiesty, he’s one of the hottest artists out right now too. One of my partners was riding around for some shows, I asked “how much could I get for a feature?” He gave me the price, I booked him. I sent the song to him, he sent me the verse back and the rest was history. He came to my hood, we shot the video. It was crazy! I actually brought the majority of my city out for the video, it was unity. We didn’t have no police issues, none of that. I had people from different hoods out there with no violence, it was all love. He came out there with no security, I salute him for that.
AllHipHop: Best memory from that video shoot?
Fresh Porter: When I had everybody out there screaming “Dogg Jigga!” From the beginning of the video all the way to the end, you could hear everybody screaming “Dogg Jigga, big boss n*gga!” I know he was smiling down on us. I know he was happy about it.
AllHipHop: How did you get tapped in with Trey Songz?
Fresh Porter: Trey’s always been a big homie to me, a big brother. Before I got locked up, he was helping me get signed with 300 Entertainment. He flew me out to New Orleans, I met with Kevin Liles. It was between them or Think It’s a Game Records based out of Atlanta. He’s always been the biggest thang we had in Petersburg, it was always Trey Songz. When I finally get to meet him, he took me up under his wing. He kept me motivated, working with me and gave me advice. Now he’s more a mentor to me. I’m actually on the way to Atlanta right now, he has an album release party. Going to kick it with him on that.
AllHipHop: Best piece of advice he gave you?
Fresh Porter: Never stop grinding, keep going. He said it’s going to be a lot easier. You know, he’s been through a lot throughout his career. He gives me a lot of stories about transitions, a lot of transitions in life. Everybody can’t go. You got to keep the people close to you, close to you. You have to do away with a lot of people who might not be beneficial to your career or aren’t going down the same path you’re on. He told me to stay focused and don’t let nothing deter me from what I’m trying to do.
AllHipHop: 3 things you need in the studio?
Fresh Porter: Women, I like them bringing vibes to the session. Beautiful women, whether it’s one girl, 2 girls, 3 girls. I get motivated. Most of the time, women are the ones who control the club. If they’re dancing to your record, they’re happy with your records, they’ll come to your shows and the guys will follow. A microphone of course. Red Bull and LifeSaver Gummies, the Neon ones!
AllHipHop: You posted “real trap n*gga.” How hard was it to walk away from the streets?
Fresh Porter: I got tired of being in the streets. You get to a point where I’ve been doing the same thing my whole adulthood, since a teenager. It’s the realist s### ever. Sitting there watching my homies die, watching my homies go to jail, I go to jail, this person got shot, you keep getting those different phone calls. When I had the opportunity to do something positive that’d break me away from this s###, it was free game. I get to inspire my children, spend time with them more. My daughter wants to rap now, I shot her a video. It wasn’t hard at all leaving the streets.
AllHipHop: Talk about how you got in with all these artists: Dolph, Boosie, Pusha T.
Fresh Porter: As an independent artist, you got to have some type of bag when you come in the game. Some artists go viral off pure talent. Some things catch like that but for the most part, you have to know how to invest your money wisely. Those are my favorite artists, I only do features with people I actually listen to. I wasn’t reaching out to people because they’re hot, people I could listen and relate to. It made sense. I got a feature from Pusha T, he didn’t even charge me for the feature.
Fresh Porter: Yeah, he’s a big fan of my music. I told him “my album won’t be complete until I got a feature from you.” I DMed him, he DMed me right back like “send me something with an open space.” I sent it to him, he sent me the verse right back.
AllHipHop: How does that make you feel?
Fresh Porter: It makes me feel like I’m taking steps into the right direction. I still got a lot more work to put in. I’m not rich, I haven’t made it. I’ve got to keep my mindset like that so I never get complacent. There’s always more to accomplish, I’m never satisfied by my success. I’ll never be satisfied with any success I have until I know for sure I’m able to bring other people up to success, let them have it and put them on. That’s what it’s all about. If you’re always looking to give back, God gon’ always keep you with something to give.
AllHipHop: What can we expect from your forthcoming album?
Fresh Porter: My album’s coming up! It’s gon’ be legendary to say the least. It’s gon’ be a classic. I put a lot of work and time into it. A lot of it comes from paying respect behind bars, all those nights. Really up pondering and thinking about my life, the things I’ve been through. There’s a lot of life stories in there, you got a lot of turn up records. I got great features, major artists like Trey Songz, of course Pusha T, Pooh Shiesty. I also got features from guys in my N$G camp, my label called Never Stop Grinding. We’re more a family, it’s a lifestyle. I got Mistletoast E, Pullman, a lot of different artists coming up under me. We’re trying to make it happen.
AllHipHop: When did you start the label and where do you want to see it going?
Fresh Porter: I started the label end of 2014. I was living in Seattle, Washington, it was something I wanted to do. Back then, man I can claim my money up. I looked at it from a particular way, not gon’ lie to you. I started going to meetings, flew to LA 20 times meeting different entertainment lawyers. I started seeing man, I can really make a difference and make a change. There’s so much talent coming out of my city. I link with artists everywhere, but the talent in Petersburg, Virginia is unmatched. From what I’ve seen, we’re a small city. We don’t have a lot of light shining on us, I plan to bring my career to the forefront and help the others around me.
AllHipHop: Anything else you want to let us know?
Fresh Porter: I’m lit as f###! [laughs] I’m just another hustler from Virginia. I’m an entrepreneur, I have a couple businesses back home. I’m big on ownership: always own your own masters. I’ve been doing this independent thing, I had no handouts. I had a lot of help and support but everything I got, I worked hard for. I’ll continue to stay grinding, I want people to tap in and tune in with me. The best is yet to come, it’s only going to get better.