Brodie Fresh is here to put on for New York in the best possible light. Born in Queens but raised in Long Island, the East Coast spitter has been making music for a whole decade. June 15th marked the 10-year anniversary since he dropped his first record ever.
Regardless, Brodie is proof that the independent grind never stops. He states, “It takes 10 years to become an overnight success, right?” When it comes to performing, the “BiGGs” rapper knows how to shut down a stage. In 2013, he embarked on his first tour with King Los, then later again with Cory Gunz on his Reloaded Tour. Last year, he secured a slot opening for the Bay Area’s own Mozzy on his Internal Affairs Tour.
In light of the George Floyd incident and recent events, Brodie released his most powerful record yet, “WBAWP (Breathe),” with an incredible visual to match. All proceeds from the release will be donated to charity, specifically the George Floyd Memorial Fund.
AllHipHop caught up with Brodie Fresh at the Kandypens house to discuss his upbringing in New York, touring with Mozzy, pros and cons of being independent, his new video for “WBAWP,” and more!
AllHipHop: Born and bred in Queens, what was the household like growing up?
Brodie Fresh: It was cool. I was raised in Elmont, which is the first city in Long Island. It’s actually 10 minutes from Hollis, Queens, on the borderline. A lot of culture there. It’s dope, you get to see a lot of different people. A lot of different nationalities and upbringings, it’s a melting pot.
AllHipHop: Growing up, who were you into musically?
Brodie Fresh: When I was younger, I definitely rocked with Biggie, Mace, Diddy. That whole movement inspired me. Dipset, 100%. I was a fan of Ja Rule back in the day. Not gon’ front on my guy, old Ja Rule was that guy. LL Cool J for sure, old Run DMC. A lot of people from New York.
AllHipHop: You recorded your first record a decade ago. What was a 20-year-old Brodie Fresh like?
Brodie Fresh: I was trying to figure out life for real. I was going to college for a bit, left there and took on that mission of figuring out how to actually gain success with music and be heard. I left my parents, moved from New York, then moved North Carolina in 2010. I was couch to couch, slept in the car. Getting my first apartment. Going through all those challenges of life, figuring out how to be an artist and become a man at the same time.
AllHipHop: How’s that experience been?
Brodie Fresh: Whew, definitely been a journey. It’s a blessing. I got to learn a lot of things first-hand. I’ve bumped my head so many times with certain different things and now, I’m in a position where I could try to assist people forreal. Avoid them bumping their head. I wouldn’t change it.
AllHipHop: At what point did music become real for you?
Brodie Fresh: Probably my first tour in 2013. That summer, I went on tour with King Los.
AllHipHop: How’d that happen?
Brodie Fresh: He was signed to a management company called After Platinum, I’d reached out to the owner of the label on social media to get a feature with Cory Gunz. I’ll never forget at A3C Festival in Atlanta, there’s a girl who interviewed me. I ended up going with her to DTP studio. While we’re there, King Los pulled up. We’re all introducing ourselves, a guy said “wassup, my name’s Ernie.” I put 2 and 2 together, I said “oh, you’re Ernie from After Platinum?” He said “yeah, who are you?” I said “yo, it’s Brodie. I talked to you about the Cory Gunz thing.” He said “yo, that’s God. That’s crazy!” We’d talked on the phone. He’s from Arizona, I’m from New York. We ended up bumping into each other in Atlanta. He rocked with me. When it came time to do their tour, he gave me the opportunity to open up.
AllHipHop: How was that experience, being your first tour?
Brodie Fresh: They said “the first show is on May 26th.” I thought “yo, that’s my birthday!” It was a Thursday, the first show was on Sunday. I had no budget at all, zero budget. No idea how I’m going to actually go on tour. He said the first show’s in Dallas, Texas.” I’m like “daaaaamn,” so we jumped in the car. I had a little Honda Civic, we drove. Left that night, just dipped. Drove straight to Texas, we followed them on tour the whole time in the Honda. It’s crazy because our tour manager’s a guy named Andrew, he’s actually DaBaby’s tour manager.
We were dollar millionaires, ate McDonald’s everyday. Figuring out how we’re going to stay in a hotel, real crazy. Thinking back now, only a 24-year-old would go for some s##t like that. It was that challenging. I finished that tour, then I got the tour with Cory Gunz right after. Cory’s my guy, he’s in the video I just released. It’s a blessing, I got to go from one tour to another tour. Being a new artist, I was rapping for 3 years. People said “how’d he tour in 3 years? He just started.” Where I’m from, it’s not something you see too often.
AllHipHop: What does it mean to release “WBAWP” during a time like this?
Brodie Fresh: “We Black And We Proud,” and we need love too! Anybody who knows me knows the majority of my music has always been based around life and conscious records. Being an artist. you have to be able to release records for radio alsol. I’ve had decent success with records for radio but my core has always been more conscious. It’s more my element to talk about what’s been going on, from my opinion. I’m glad it’s been resonating, the feedback I’ve been getting has been great. That’s the most important thing.
AllHipHop: What was your decision to donate 100% of proceeds to the #BLM movement?
Brodie Fresh: That was an easy call. There’s no way I could take anything from that. There’s so much going on, I reached out to my guy Foreign Teck, Teck said he was with it. The artist Kayla Shea said she’s with it. I sent my engineer John Sparkz the record to mix. When he sent it back, he said “bro, this one’s on me. There’s no way I’m charging you for that.” It was a group effort, everybody was all for it.
AllHipHop: You also released your new single “BiGGs,” what inspired this one?
Brodie Fresh: Man, we were having fun for real. Foreign Teck’s pretty big, he did Bryson Tiller’s “Exchange” and Drake’s “Losses” on the album he just dropped. It’s a blessing to work with a producer like that. Me and Teck were in Miami, supposed to do one record and it turned into an entire EP. We turned it up and had fun.
AllHipHop: How was touring with Mozzy?
Brodie Fresh: Lit! That’s my biggest tour to date. I was the only East Coast artist on the entire tour, everybody else was from the West Coast. Being around different cultures, different sides of the world, watching people’s interactions with their fans, it was cool. A good learning experience, they took things very seriously. A lot of other tours I was on were organized, but they weren’t as big so certain things they didn’t care about. Mozzy, they cared about us being there for rehearsal.
AllHipHop: What are the pros and cons of the independent grind?
Brodie Fresh: Being able to have full control over what you want to do is definitely a pro. The cons is having to speak for yourself sometimes, with labels or managers. People don’t take you as serious when you’re representing yourself. Also the investments that go into it. People don’t see how much money it costs to actually do this. They think it’s “oh, they’re doing music!” An average song for me is $1000 or more. You’re talking about paying for production, the mix and master. Paying to record, paying to put it out and putting it out the correct way. Making sure it’s actually promoted. Especially nowadays with streaming, that could cost thousands of dollars to invest into. People don’t see that side. They see the music like “oh it’s nothing,” but it’s expensive. Very expensive. Going on tour cost me $15,000.
AllHipHop: Did you make that back?
Brodie Fresh: I actually almost did, I came close with merch. You have to apply yourself. Creating the merch, pressing out enough merch to go on the road with. Having people who could work the merch table while you’re up on stage, all of that goes into it.
AllHipHop: Talk about having your own clothing brand, on top of everything else.
Brodie Fresh: I started a small clothing brand back in high school. I was always really involved in fashion. I went to FIT for a little bit, took classes there. I always loved fashion, it’s a part of me. My name was Fresh before, Brodie’s my last name. Fresh because I was always into clothing.
AllHipHop: You’re a father, a son, a brother, artist, entrepreneur. Talk about balancing it all.
Brodie Fresh: It’s hard to balance. [laughs] Very hard to balance. My kids are 3 and 1, so it’s definitely not easy. You’re on the road and doing different things, you still want to try to instill certain things into them while you’re actually travelling and doing your thing. It’s a lot.
AllHipHop: What can we expect from your forthcoming EP? You have features with Tory, Fivio Foreign, Tsu Surf.
Brodie Fresh: It’s going to be interesting. I haven’t dropped a project since 2016. I took a lot of time with this project, making sure it’s presented the way I want it to be presented. I love the majority of my projects I put out, but it’ll be 1or 2 things I’m like “damn, I wish I woulda changed that.” This time around, I took the time to make sure it’s entirely something I’m happy with.
AllHipHop: Lil Wayne was saying on Young Money Radio that he always thinks of ways he could say some lines differently.
Brodie Fresh: It’s annoying! See, I don’t write. I go in and punch in like Wayne. When you do that, sometimes you get a really great song but because I freestyled this, this ONE line I know if I changed that one word, it’d sound way better. By then, I like how it flows. It’s in your head. A lot of times, other people don’t even realize. It’s just you.
AllHipHop: What are some goals for yourself at this point of your career?
Brodie Fresh: My ultimate goal is to be in a position to help people. I want to put other artists and producers in position. My team’s poppin’. We have people who do different things from engineering to graphic design to website design to clothing design to production, everything really. My goal’s to be able to help my people be in a position to win, and they can help their people. Really spread the message. I took the time. I’m not super crazy on people believing in me, I want them to believe in themselves. That’s important to me, inspiring people to believe in themselves in whatever they do whether it’s music or lawyers. This generation, a lot of the kids don’t even try or apply themselves to do anything because they don’t believe. Nobody’s telling them they can do this, everything’s a game nowadays.