Harlem is known throughout the world for its rich culture, and to this day, the neighborhood continues to be the birthplace of and haven for all mediums of art. For example, modern-day Hip-hop has Harlem to thank for acts such as A$AP Mob, Smoke DZA, and Dave East. But the well has not run dry yet. Amazing artists continue to walk those same streets while finding their own path to success.
Fresh the Prophet, real name Jeremiah, is one of those artists. Born and raised in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Jeremiah is one of over 20 members of the NY-based rap group, NXGN. For years he made appearances on collaborative projects, such as the 2017 tape he made with NXGN member Ty Bass, ZOOM. He only released his debut tape, ‘FRESH’, in the final days of November of this year. As listeners, we can finally cut out the other voices and home in on what makes Jeremiah “the Prophet.” HangTime caught up with him on a brisk evening in Morningside Park to discuss his first solo mixtape.
FRESH is a seven-track, 16-minute refresher of the fact that good gangster rap can come out of this city. The only confirmed feature on the tape comes from Aubrey Joseph on the track ‘Jump Ship.’ The entire project was executively produced by Joe Aste, a NXGN in-house producer. TyBass and JonBoy Ice are two other producers that helped FRESH come into fruition. This arsenal of producers allowed for each song to have a distinct sound. “I’m happy with the way it sounds sonically,” Jeremiah admits. “It sounds like it’s all part of the same project, but I didn’t want it to sound like the same song over and over.”
It’s not just the production of FRESH that makes it stand out. The content of Jeremiah’s lyrics are something that ought to hit their mark, as he mixes serious bars with a hint of humor. For instance, the chorus of ‘Dickhead’ features the bar, “They say I look like a school-shooter.” Refer to the picture of Jeremiah to figure out what makes that so funny.
Other lyrics are indications of skepticism towards local authorities. A couple of lines from ‘Butter’ are “We know how an undercover look,” and “I see 12, I’m avoiding.” The statements align Jeremiah with those critical of the performance of police across the nation, including our own NYPD. “It goes without being said that it’s a racist system,” he claims. “The system as a whole is designed to keep certain people down. Big K to all that shit. Free the guys.”
These well-crafted lyrics are the by-product of something more personal. For Jeremiah, rap is about a lot more than producing content for others; it’s a cathartic experience for him. “I feel like sometimes, if I’m in a bad mood, I like to make a song in that mood because it kind of releases that energy into the music.”
As Jeremiah went into detail on who helped with the production of the mixtape, he mentioned that Joe Aste and himself worked on a lot of music. Jeremiah then hand-selected the tracks he felt best went together for the project. “I had been cooking up with my mans Joe from NYU that I met through TyBass. Basically, I’ve been going to his dorm over the last few months, since his semester started. We probably made 20-30 songs in the last two months.”
From a listener’s viewpoint, this sounds like we could have a new message from the Prophet at any time. If he elects to carry over those leftover bars to the new decade, one can be certain that, though they may not be as fresh as FRESH, they will certainly be Grade-A quality tunes. Even so, the NXGN collective as a whole ceases to rest. They fire from each angle, and Jeremiah is bound to be the man behind the trigger for a few shots. Again, refer to the picture above.