Straight Fresh caught up with the homie Fenix recently, and he took some time to answer a few questions. He opens up about his influences and favorite artists, explains his relationship with purpVarsity & THEBLKHANDS, provides some details on what he has in store for his upcoming project Letters, and more. As usual, Fenix is unapologetically candid in his responses. Hit the cut to read our exclusive interview.
Straight Fresh: Appreciate you taking the time to answer some questions. Just to get started, give us a little introduction – who is Fenix?
Fenix: I’m just a 23 year old stoner, man. To be honest, I just love music to the point where I had to make it. I’m all about that Made Life though.
Straight Fresh: Why be an emcee? What inspired you to get into music?
Fenix: Music is just a part of everything I do. I connected with rap more so than rock. I feel most rock bands are cliche haha, but what do I know? I’m just a rapper. As far as inspiration, I was always good at writing, I just switched my focus from writing shit for English class to writing these bullshit ass raps Freshman year. The shit ain’t click right away. It took living with my boy Mikey for me to put words together well. Now, I’m at the point where I don’t like rappers on the come up purely because I see myself being better than them. There’s a small list of people who ain’t on that list. But we all know who I fuck with on the regular.
Straight Fresh: Beyond a career or success, what do you hope to achieve with your music?
Fenix: Personally, I wanna be an icon. I want you to say Michael Jackson, The Beatles, Frank Sinatra, Elvis, Kanye, Em, Jay, Fenix. And Cazzie.
Straight Fresh: Who are some of your influences?
Fenix: Recently, me and iLLA gettin’ into indie music. There’s this dude Capeface – I heard this shit he did called “I Go” that was raw as fuck. On the hip hop side of things, I’m heavily Kanye influenced. That’s cause of this moment I had at the Glow In The Dark concert, during “Stronger”, he would say, like four times, “Is this what you been waitin’ for?”. And there was so much emotion behind it, and that very moment I knew I wanted to do music full time. I’d def say Wiz is another influence. I really fuck with his vibe as a person and he really resonates with me due to being a fellow pothead. But I really stopped listening to new rap. I’m on to exploring this new shit.
Straight Fresh: What’s your writing process like? Sit down and knock out a track? Constantly going back, editing and bringing in new ideas, etc.?
Fenix: Depends on the song. For features, unless it’s THEBLKHANDS or Mikey, I won’t put my all into my verse ’cause it probably won’t be heard. But it is what it is. For me, it starts with the beat. iLLA knows me and what I need. He just cooks then I write up. I usually edit a verse about 5 or 6 times before it’s finished. I go back every few days and fix little shit.
Straight Fresh: Can you tell us about your relationship with purpVarsity and THEBLKHANDS? How’d that happen? And what do you guys have planned for the future?
Fenix: Ahhh, THEBLKHANDS is a story man. Really it boils down to iLLA. He was producing my album, at the time titled Mile High, and I would coach him on how to fix his beats. For example, “Wolf”, by Dominic Serendip, was MY beat haha. I picked the sample, told him the parts, and he does his magic – and I ended up not wanting it. So that was the first connection between me and Dom. Me and Caz…we go back. To like, when there was a website called FistfulOfSound.com. Me and Caz both got picked to be featured and promoted by that site at the same time. I was originally supposed to be on Jetsonia but I never got the verse in. Then, iLLA and I linked back up last year, he sent me shit and we just clicked this time. pV is tight as fuck man, everyone is cool. I haven’t met any of them outside of Twitter, but I will in December – we shootin’ some vids. Shout out to Leaf and Sir Phresh. Them fools hella cool. It’s a trip how close we all and never met. That’s my family. I got a few features floating around with pV. Phresh and I did a song called “Reflection”, it’s fuckin’ dope. I gotta record still. Multiple THEBLKHANDS stuff. Me and Caz got something specialspecial. I can’t talk too much about it, but let’s just say we are some “Made Men”…take that how you want, haha. And Cazzie is gonna be the greatest artist alive. On my life, I think he will be bigger than any of us.
Straight Fresh: You’ve released a track, “Calm Before The Storm”, featuring XV, and you’ve been on tracks with some other dope features. What’s that like for you? Have they offered you any advice?
Fenix: To be real, XV was mad cool but he ain’t hit me back about shit. I’m slightly salty how that release went down. But I have his number, which was cool. But mainly iLLA deals with the major artists, so it just happens through him.
Straight Fresh: And, on the topic of features, who is your dream collaboration?
Fenix: Kanye. But I wanna be on his album ’cause his features aren’t always great, haha. Other than that, I think Methodman would be a close second, and Redman. Haha, everyone has a Wu-Tang dream feature. Mine are the potheads, haha.
Straight Fresh: Two part question – what do you like best about the current state of hip-hop? And, what do you like least about the current state of hip hop?
Fenix: The best part is labels are becoming obsolete, so the artists are starting to hold the power and starting to realize they don’t NEED a label. That’s what I’ve been saying for the last 4 years or so. FUCK a label. I’ll never be on a major. Ever. The bad part is that being shitty is the new cool. Rappers like Keef, Reese, 2 Chainz, etc., they are the new cool shit and I don’t get why. I listen to it and make fun of ‘em, everyone else seems to actually like it. And it’s just fucked up they blocking the realest ones with talent. Now you gotta be wack to be good? That’s some backwards ass shit.
Straight Fresh: Who are your top 3 favorite emcees and top 3 favorite producers? Currently doing their thing and of all time.
Fenix: Rappers…Kanye, Jay, and Cazzie. Producers are gonna be Kanye, iLLA, and Young Chop…haha, sike. I’d prolly say Pharrell.
Straight Fresh: You’ve released a couple tracks from your upcoming project, Letters. Tell us what we should expect from the album – what’s the sound like? Any exclusive details you’d like to share with SFDotNet?
Fenix: We JUST solidified the sound like yesterday, but it’s just very laid back as far as the vibe. It’s emotional work, don’t expect “money cars rims” bullshit. It’s not even really weed tracks like that. I love weed, but I’m not Wiz. I don’t need to talk about it on record every five seconds. It’s like maybe 1 song per project. I got crazy shit, like “Music To Sell Your Soul To” is intense. Haha, people gonna think I’m crazy. Most the shit rleased is bonus material or like cut tracks. We got plans, well I do, for this shit. Expect real ass rap. We workin’ on names. I don’t wanna say too much till it’s 100 percent, but we want Devin Tha Dude, a G.O.O.D. Music artist is in the works, and someone else. But expect THEBLKHANDS on the next single, “Remember You”. We shootin’ that video later this year. Mikey AK on the album too, and Leaf Madtic. But you’ll have to wait for the rest.
Straight Fresh: Good looks on that. Thank you for taking the time to talk with us. As always, Straight Fresh looks forward to hearing more music from you soon. Any last words you’d like to leave us with?
Fenix: Props to the Straight Fresh squad, mad love for y’all. Made Life all day. Music Affect Doing Everything. Cazzie the King, iLLA the general, HK the GAWD. Ummm, shit, just stay tuned. We in this hoe and we ain’t leavin’. Peace. Roll one.
Interview By: Zach Humphrey (@Zach_pusAfella)