Denzil Porter may be one of the more underrated rappers out right now, but it’s safe to say that his lyrical abilities will prove anyone wrong. Whether that’s to a hater or a new listener, no one can deny Porter of his talents when it comes to creating.
He may not be an artist that continually drops new music, but his music is more timeless and has topics of importance such as family, his dreams, growth, his daughter and sacrifices.
Below I got the chance to ask Porter questions about his album, what he’s been up to since then, thoughts on rappers today and lots more. Check out his answers below.
To anyone who may not have been put onto Denzil Porter or is a new fan, what would you say specifically to inform these listeners?
For new fans and listeners who are just getting familiar with Mr.Porter, I would like to say “Welcome to my world” pull out a map, point to the X and say “you are here” … the “X” as in the Bronx (New York) as Big Pun intended. I go by the name of Denzil Porter, born & raised from the Mecca of hip-hop. My abilities range from bouncing on records that make the body move, to dropping lines that make the mind work. I’m widely known for punchlines, messages and an aggressive delivery- some call me “The BarKing,” comparing my performance to a dog snapping on a leash. I also have a reputation for putting out good quality music, & known to give a feel, from what some would call the “golden era of rap” when emcee’s were elevating the game.
You just recently released a new music video for your track “Careless.” What was the process for the creation of the video and why did you decide to drop a video for this track off of Semantics of Mr. Porter specifically?
“Careless” is a special song to me. It’s a record that makes you dance and still has all the criteria for a 360-degree dope record. It has a dope hook, dope beat, but what makes it special is, what it comes with: punchlines, quotables, wordplay, witt, … it’s a record you can play in a club, with substance… which is rare.
I wanted to do whatever I could to show people I can do this. I can make you dance with a message. Not saying this hasn’t been done, but not many artists can or will. I did the video to push this one as far as I could. The video was improvised, by my colleague Claws, who had just picked up the camera, and started learning how to use the thing. We wanted to get into a groove of just get up and shoot. One morning we were up real early and drove to the roof of a parking lot in Mount Vernon, and just started filming.
What have you been up to since the release of your last project Semantics of Mr. Porter? Any more music videos you’ve been creating for the album?
Semantics Of Mr.Porter is still a young record. I’d like to see it grow as high as it can. Simultaneously, I’m working on a follow up to “Semantics” meanwhile thinking of ways to expand it. I have a few more visuals to release off the project and one or two
tricks up the sleeves before I totally move on from Semantics Of Mr.Porter. The follow up is as important as the first project, so I’m working on a follow-up project with “Semantics” in mind.
Being a versatile, yet lyricist rapper, do you feel rappers like you get slept on too much? What are your thoughts on today’s rappers such as Trippie Red, Lil Xan, and XXXTENTACION? (for example)
Honestly, I don’t think we are slept on. I think we are just hard to find. Much of us aren’t served to the masses like it was once before. This goes for many of the arts; you gotta go out and find it. So there is sort of like an exclusivity feel that I kind of appreciate. At this point, I’m not opposed to the new artists in the music industry, that is until they start disrespecting where we come from. The new artists may not be the best rap in the world, but to find that silver lining for those who can’t find a way to appreciate them, I feel the reason hip-hop is still alive and well is because it keeps recreating itself. As if it stays alive
by people deciding if it’s alive or dead. Every couple of years it changes or sounds different, but still carries the elements to be called hip-hop… I guess it might be time to face the facts and appreciate that it’s still breathing and going longer than most expected it too. Like any culture, young boys should respect their elders and know where they come from. If you’re in this culture, be in this culture, don’t half-ass it for the wave.
You speak about your daughter in your album. With track #1 “Et Tu Brute” for example in the second verse. How do you balance taking care of your daughter while still having the energy to create music and perform at shows?
My daughter is all fuel… raw inspiration. The gift of a child is what a person makes it. Growing up it felt as if having children would be a burden on the mission. Many people have this thought that children will slow you down. Yes, having a child adds more priorities more responsibilities, time adjustments, and changes but WHAT IS LIFE?
This is just like the goal, a challenge that comes with a future and the future is what I make it. Long story short, after long story passed, having a daughter has been an inspiration, motivation a reason to go harder, think smarter and be stronger. I write more, think more maturely, working the studio more, and I’ll have her there with me. At a performance, she may be on someones FaceTime watching and dancing. She likes what I do, loves the cyphers and would rather hear “Careless” than a nursery rhyme; but most importantly, I let her decide her path, I don’t care if she wants to rap or build pyramids but I want her to be creative; a power everyone has, but may lose over time. I have the opportunity to keep her in a creative environment. I go hard, her mother goes hard, to make sure she knows this is what you do here. Find out what you are here for and go hard.
How was the Bronx shaped you and your artistry? And how vital is supporting other local rappers that are too trying to make it in the world?
As most of my listeners know, I am extremely proud of where I’m from. The stuff I’ve seen, the stuff I’ve learned, the stuff I’ve heard about, the history, the arts, the genius, like think about everything that has come out of The Bronx. The Bronx, once known as gangland, a place riddled with abandoned buildings, ghettos, and projects, has offered so much to the world. It still is that barrel full of crabs, but when you make it out the barrel, it’s as if you’ve grown wings. The Bronx has made me who I am, the aggression, hunger, style, and ambition. The competitive nature, patience and street smarts are things that one can not unlearn and appreciate. There is so much talent in the Bronx, and it is a true melting pot. When it comes to supporting other artists and younger artists in the area, my studio has made me a staple and a sort of household name for young artist or recording artist getting there first taste of the booth. I love this; I love being that first step, it gives me the chance to throw them in a direction. Not necessarily my direction, but away from the wrong direction. I speak to them, find out if they are in it for, and from there I try to walk them as far as they want to go. As long as they are considerate that I am too on my own mission, I never mind having a new member on my ship.
You’ve performed for headliners such as D.R.A.M. and T-Pain plus more. Who has been your favorite so far?
I’ve done so many dope shows, I can’t really choose, but I think the performance with T pain was one of my favorites. We had just killed the stage, our performance had slight planning, but is based on much improv, which is great for us because there isn’t much room for a noticeable error that we couldn’t fix. When T-Pain hit the stage, it was so on point, things were on, and he even had space for improv. It was a clean crisp set, well organized as a concert should be. I learned from this, I still leave massive space for improv & improvement because I love it, makes every show different, but I’m a little more planned and set on making my performances fit the mood. When it’s concert time, make it tight like you trying to get pregnant baby.
What would you say to your fans that are building their empire perhaps, and are struggling with keeping up with it through hard times?
I’ll tell you how Demrick (California based rapper) told me… “Do not trickle down” … hard times don’t make artists quit music; it helps them make it. Keep going, if this or that doesn’t work… recreate yourself, find out what you are here for and keep digging for the gold. A bamboo tree spends 3 to 4 years underground, then grows up to 90ft in 6 months. Be that bamboo tree. Your five years could be two years could be ten years, but keep working underground, until you see that light, and you will shoot up from the food of the sun. “Don’t trickle down,” don’t start, be great and then fall back, because of the obstacles & challenges of life. It’s apart of the growth; these are the things that make you strong, don’t be apart of the “trickle down”… keep going.
Watch Denzil Porter – Time Soon Come below on Youtube.
Words by Daniela Campos
IG – @anonymousimpulse