Read the full interview on AllHipHop.com!
DJ Fresh is letting you know he’s One of Them Ones.. which is exactly why he landed an opening DJ spot on Chris Brown and Lil Baby’s Tour of the same name. Talk about sold out dates, there’s no other artist who’s selling out stadiums and arenas around the world like these two superstars.
In describing himself, DJ Fresh states, “I am the world famous, that’s what I’m using right now. I’m a lover of family, I’m a lover R&B music, I’m a lover of the culture. I’m today’s generation of DJ Drama, DJ Khaled, DJ Kid Capri all boiled into one. I was taking a shower and rehearsing a speech I’d say if I won an award, [laughs] and I had named those three.”
Hailing from Louisville, Kentucky, DJ Fresh fell in love at a super early age, around 6 years old. Growing up as a youngster in the early 90’s and surrounded by that feel-good R&B, which he declares is the “best era of music,” Fresh quickly found himself immersed in the culture. And while he wanted to sing and dance growing up, soon he’d find his niche: DJing.
To date, DJ Fresh has DJed for the likes Rich Homie Quan, Future, Yung Bleu, and many more… and he even has a hell of a story to tell about his time opening for Nicki Minaj.
AllHipHop caught up with DJ Fresh via Zoom to discuss his background, learning how to DJ, how he got his name, breaking Rich Homie Quan’s “Flex,” favorite songs to DJ, how he landed with Future, what happened on tour with Nicki Minaj, his R&B mixtape series, and more!
AllHipHop: You’re from Louisville, Kentucky, what was that like growing up?
DJ Fresh: It was country and city at the same time. The music scene wasn’t really prominent out there as far as making stars as it is today. With the emergence of Jack Harlow, EST Gee, Bryson Tiller and other acts. Back then, the music scene wasn’t as promising as far as making it out of it. It was a good time in life, it molded me into who I am today.
AllHipHop: How’d you learn how to DJ?
DJ Fresh: I was self-taught. I never went to a class, nobody ever taught me. I was put into a situation where one of my friends, my mentor _____?, he was DJing a party and ended up getting sick while he was DJing. I was there, and I had to press the buttons and do what I knew to hold the party down until he felt a little better. I was trash, but I played a couple good records. It made feel like if I could make people’s feelings change or make the whole atmosphere change by playing them a song, there’s no telling how great I could change an atmosphere if I got good at. That’s how I got into teaching myself, basically just watching.
AllHipHop: What was the inspiration behind your name?
DJ Fresh: I got my name when I was a freshman in college. I was walking around meeting people. I was hugging girls, they’d always say “you smell fresh as hell. You smell good.” It stuck with me. Everyone called me Fresh, then I put DJ in front of it.
AllHipHop: What cologne were you rocking?
DJ Fresh: It wasn’t even cologne. I was washing my clothes in Gain, that’s what they were smelling. [laughs]
AllHipHop: Talk about DJing for Rich Homie Quan and breaking the record “Flex,” that was such a moment in time.
DJ Fresh: We were on the road, he had a folder full of songs. He said “hey man, I heard you’re about to drop a mixtape. You can choose any songs in this folder, I’m not really using any of the songs.” Flex just happened to be in the folder. With that, I said “man, this is a hit! This is the one.” When I put it on the mixtape, it ended up breaking records. It was a milestone. It was one of the songs that had the most views on the app at the time I was using. Once they seen how much it was going, they took the record from me. It was history after that.
AllHipHop: Talk about opening for Chris Brown and Baby’s One Of Them Ones tour.
DJ Fresh: Originally, I was supposed to be on tour as a back up DJ to Lil Baby. There were some complications on the tour and some artists were not coming to some of the dates, so they needed somebody to hold the crowd over until it was time for the main show. There was a guy by the name of Twin who put me on the tour, he said “Fresh can do it.” That first day, I went so crazy. They said “alright man, this is your job from here on out.” That’s how I got blessed with that position.
AllHipHop: How’d It feel to be opening in front of so many people?
DJ Fresh: I wasn’t a stranger to it, but it was great. They’re arguably, unarguably to me, the two biggest artists in the world right now, as far as R&B and rap are concerned on a moving basis. It felt good that I could be considered one of them ones, no pun intended, and be a part of it. Different crowds everyday, hearing people scream my name and really enjoying what I had to offer. And not knowing me: just being able to introduce the world to me, it felt amazing.
AllHipHop: Top 3 songs to play when you DJ?
DJ Fresh: [whistles] Right now, I’d have to say PGF Nuk “Waddup,” Big Boogie “Pop Out,” and Lil Baby “On Me.”
AllHipHop: How’d you end up DJing for Future and how was that experience?
DJ Fresh: That was a blessing in disguise. One day I was on Twitter. I hadn’t been DJing on the road. I said man, I’m a DM him and see if he writes back. I DMed him like “hey man, if you’re looking for a DJ, I can DJ for you.” He wrote back like “send me your number, I’m a call you.” I sent him my number and he called me. It literally was that simple, but it was one of those things where chances make champions. I took a chance to see if someone needed help or was looking for a new direction, it just happened to work. That was a total honest blessing off of a decision I made to just reach out.
AllHipHop: Can you explain the incident at the Nicki Minaj show?
DJ Fresh: I opened up The Pinkprint Tour a while back, it was Dallas and Houston. What happened, I did at both shows, but it was the second show that was “oh no, what’s this guy doing?” I had a 10 minute intermission, I’d play crazy records for the city that we’re in. During the set, I would go run off the top of the stage and do a backflip. It was crazy! The second show in Houston, the crowd was outrageous man. Everybody was there: Meek, James Harden, everybody who’s anybody was there.
I was playing Future “F### Up Some Commas.” Right before the beat stopped, I ran, did a round off and backflip. Everyone went crazy, you would’ve thought Nicki was coming on stage at that very moment. When they went crazy, she heard it and was like “what’s going on out there?” I was never addressed about it. I felt like I had fulfilled my duty, but I ended up getting sent home. I thought my duty was over. When I got sent home, it was cool. They ended up paying me, I got my check.
Some months down the line when Future and Meek were touring, Meek ended up telling me like “hey, you do know why you went home right?” I said nah. He said “It was the backflip.” I got cut from the show because of the backflip I did.
AllHipHop: A backflip? That’s lit!
DJ Fresh: [sighs] Who’s to say? But from the blind eye, it looks like it’s too much attention coming my way. There’s a video of it, you could hear first staff. The arena’s going so crazy.
AllHipHop: You get the Barbz on for a second though?
DJ Fresh: Oh no, the Barbz were lit. They were lit, this is fasho.
AllHipHop: Talk about your R&B mixtape series.
DJ Fresh: I have a mixtape series called Having and Dabbing. I dropped different mixtapes with independent artists, some mixtapes with mainstream artists. My R&B tapes are the ones that started taking off really fast. I did a tape with Lil Sammie, Pleasure P, Bobby Valentino. We’re talking about one, two million views at a time when mixtapes were prominent for R&B music. I’ve always had a love for that. R&B is music for the soul. I was stuck on that. That’s my baby. I’ll choose R&B mixtapes over anything.
AllHipHop: What’s next for you?
DJ Fresh: The hype on my career at this point would have to be, being able to tour with Chris Brown and Lil Baby. What’s next is that I’m working on my own artists. I have an artist by the name of KGB Cho, dope rap artist out of Thomasville, Georgia. We’re working on him right now. Other than my DJing, my main goal is to get him a record deal and put where he’s from on the map, where they don’t get a lot of attention.
AllHipHop: Anything else you want to let us now?
DJ Fresh: If I was to give advice to someone up-and-coming or trying to do something entrepreneurial, my key advice is to never give up. I live by the quote “what do I look like giving up today, when tomorrow will be the day that I win?” Just keep at it.