Richmond rapper Phreshly Relevant
feels like she’s on top of the world. Her single “So Right” recently won KMEL’s Home Turf
contest, where listeners vote for local songs they want to hear on the radio. Winning the contest was a milestone for her — especially because the track was written, produced, and performed entirely by women. And the new recognition bodes well for her since her So Right
EP is due out this fall.
Phresh has had a solid presence in the Oakland hip-hop scene since she began making music in 2009. She’s already opened for notable Bay Area artists such as Erk Tha Jerk, Mistah F.A.B., and various members of Shmoplife. It’s also not unlikely to spot her in downtown Oakland on any given day: The rapper is sponsored by the swanky local menswear label Calculated Clothing
— which explains her dapper looks at gigs at Club 21 and the Bench and Bar, two key LGBTQ party spots.
Phresh’s music is hard-hitting and production-heavy. On “So Right,” which also features Samiere, g-funk synths back up Phresh’s confident rhymes. Her high-energy presence shines through, and it’s not hard to see why her music bumps on the radio or at clubs.
The Richmond rapper is on her way to showing fans what exactly it means to be “phresh” — and how to do it in their own unique way. The Express
caught up with her over the phone to discuss the success of “So Right” and her upcoming music video and EP.
How does it feel to win KMEL’s Home Turf contest with your single “So Right”?
It’s an amazing feeling, actually. I’m still kind of in disbelief. ‘Cause it happened so fast. We went up there to submit the song, and it got picked the next day. We won the next week. It’s been a nice rollercoaster of emotions, but I’m really excited. I feel like I’m putting on for my city and my community, and just for myself in general. I’ve been making music for about six years now, so to win KMEL Home Turf and for it to actually be played on main airwaves was an awesome accomplishment for me. I’m feelin’ real good.
How long have you been performing in Oakland?
Well, I’m from Richmond, and there’s not really a lot of places to perform in Richmond. So, Oakland, San Francisco, those are more of the places that I’ve gotten my platform. I’ve been performing out in Oakland since about 2010 … so, I’d say, for as long as I’ve been makin’ music.
Does the city and its community play a role in your music?
Most definitely. It has a lot of influence in my music because I spend a lot of time out there. I made a lot of connects and met a lot of people in general in Oakland. I definitely rep my city as much as possible, but I’ll give Oakland its credit. Its culture has definitely shaped me as an artist, and I love to spend time out there.
What about your style? Are you into fashion?
Super into fashion! You know, I try to be as phresh as possible. I’m tryna make phresh more than just me. It’s a lifestyle, a feelin’. So everybody can be phresh in their own way. I’m actually sponsored by a clothing line out in Oakland called The Retail. So, most of the time when you see Phresh, I’m wearing Calculated Clothing — that’s the brand inside the store. Shout out to Cal and Sloan, you feel me. That’s definitely the brand, and that’s definitely where I get a lot of my swag from. And they’re located as well in Downtown Oakland.
Who are some of the people out here you’ve worked with?
So, Team Phresh consists of a lot of different people, actually. My management is Sloane Gross and my graphic manager is Alee Ayo. Like I said I’m sponsored by Calculated Clothing, so that’s Cal. I’ve worked with Tree Thomas out of Oakland, he’s also actually a Calculated artist as well. I’ve opened up for many artists in the Bay since I’ve been working. Erk Tha Jerk, Too Short, Keak da Sneak, F.A.B. I’ve definitely connected with Kool John from Shmoplife, you know we’re from the same place. I’ve written some music actually for Ooty Ooo of Shmoplife. So, I’ve dibbled and dabbled a lot when it comes to Bay Area music. A lot of people know me as Phresh. I’m just now starting to get my credit and recognition. I’ve worked with a lot of great artists. Laughs. So, I’ll just stop there.
Are there others you’d like to collaborate with?
I really, really follow Erk the Jerk and, just, his come up, I’d say, from putting out “Right here” to where he is now as Kevin Allen. His whole dream. I just really want to work with him. And F.A.B. is hot right now! Shout out to Mistah F.A.B. He put me in his video. And hell yeah! I’m definitely still feelin’ F.A.B.. I definitely wanna work with him.
Do you have an EP in the works?
The So Right EP will be out. I’m not gonna put a date on it yet, because it’s still in the works. The first single, of course, is “So Right” featuring Samiere. She’s an artist based out of L.A., but she’s from the Bay Area. She’s featured on the EP that’s coming out. That song was produced by XCI, another female out of Richmond. So that whole track is a female-produced, written artistry. It’s dope.
What does being “phresh” mean?
I’d say, for me, being phresh is more of a lifestyle. It’s a way of thinking. A way of eating. Being the best possible version of yourself. Eating healthy. Putting great things into your body, putting great vibes into your body, lookin’ nice at all times. Feelin’ like that at all times, even if you are in sweats, t-shirt, and hair tied up. It’s a way of life. It’s a mindset, and I’m really trying to push that. My team is trying to push that. It’s one band, one sound, you know, everybody’s equal. Everybody’s phresh.