Fresh On Writing “Lucid Dreams” For Brandy, Speaks About Being A Black Man In America

Fresh: photo credit: @ahlyia.rios

Fresh talks about his upbringing on the East Coast, moving to Los Angeles, working with Scott Storch, most memorable sessions with Brandy, Ari Lennox & the Queen Beyonce, his Grammy nominations, being a black man in America, and more! 

Fresh has worked with some of the greatest names in the music industry, and he shows no plans of slowing down anytime soon. 

During a tumultuous 2020 where the COVID-19 pandemic and social injustice has taken a toll on everybody’s life, jobs, and overall mental health, the producer, songwriter, and visionary shines on top with one of the biggest years of his career.

With his own company titled King With A Dream, inspired by his last name King, Fresh is heavily influenced by the legends: from Michael Jordan and Kobe to Michael Jackson and Prince to Stevie Wonder and Biggie. The 3 words he lives by are “figure it out,” which lead him relocating to Los Angeles without having one single contact. 

He states, “Flew myself out, put my money up for myself and built a relationship that now my phone’s crazy.” 

To date, Fresh has incredible accolades under his belt, including 9 Grammy nominations and one win for his workin co-writing “All Night” on Beyonce’s critically-acclaimed LEMONADE album.

AllHipHop: You say you’re driven and focused, where does this drive come from? 

Fresh: Literally knowing when you don’t have options, you learn to create them. I’m not trying to be deep in thought, I’m a thinker.

AllHipHop: You’re from Brooklyn but lived in Queens, how does that play into your life and career?

Fresh: To keep it all the way 100 with you, my mom wasn’t around after 10. My dad left around 2 or 3 so he wasn’t in my life. I was fortunate enough to beat the system. My grandparents raised me, truly the best thing that ever happened to me in my life. Had I not had them, I wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you today. When you watch the Lion King, no pun intended, when he says the Elephant’s Graveyard, that’s what Brownsville, Brooklyn felt like. “What goes there never comes out,” is what he told Simba. I made it out of that.

AllHipHop: When did you come to LA?

Fresh: I was bicoastal for 3.5 to 4 years. About a solid 3 years ago, I said “yo I’m spending 8 months out the year here. What am I doing? I’m only in New York for family and friends but they at work all day, I gotta get the f### outta there.” I came to LA and turnt it up after I built myself. I’m flying back, I got Scott Storch hitting me like “yo, you left?” Yeah dawg, it’s been two weeks.” He goes “I had this play for you.” I’m tired of doing plays to come do nothing in New York. New York’s dry. I love my city but that s### dry. I love the city but for where we at, you can’t tell Steve Jobs that Apple’s going to Asia and you’re like “nah, I’ma stay in the United States.” N*gga, I’m out. So I was out.

AllHipHop: What’s the dynamic in the studio working with Scott Storch?

Fresh: Scott works out of his crib. Smokes, 420 all day. We light up. Depends on the energy we working on. It’s always fun working with Scott. It’s melodies, it’s concept, free from restriction. It’s the way studios should be. You get to open up the f###### door, look outside, sit by the pool, make music and make money. That’s what this should be about: try to work with the people you enjoy having fun with.

AllHipHop: Did you learn anything from him?

Fresh: Just because you’re down, doesn’t mean you’re out. It taught me don’t ever take this s### for granted. Understand that as long as you got the musical gift and you respect it, it’ll always keep giving you.

AllHipHop: What were those sessions like with Brandy?

Fresh: Think about going into a session with somebody like Brandy, sitting there having therapy sessions, vibing with her. We begin writing songs, goes in the booth and sings the song back to you. You’re hearing this voice that you’ve heard your whole life sing songs you just wrote with her & Kaydence, that s###’s amazing. With the theme music of DJ Camper, the musical choices and taste buds on that s### was insane. Those sessions felt like a dream, nah this s### ain’t real. Go to Atlanta like “yo Brandy’s singing this song back, this is nuts.” That’s what it is.

AllHipHop: Favorite song you made with Brandy?

Fresh: Besides “Borderline,” I didn’t do that one. I came in late right after they did that one. My favorite song is “Lucid Dreams” because of what it stood for. The times where she’s going through a lot and I could relate to it. She began dealing with Ambiens and getting addicted, wanting to be asleep more than she wanted to be awake. With depression, she’d have these dreams where she felt alive inside those dreams. That spoke to my soul because we all had those spots or we will have those spots in our lives. I love when fans hit me back about that one. It wasn’t about it being a #1, sometimes the #1 ain’t always the song that tops the charts sometimes it’s the song that strikes the soul the most.

AllHipHop: What was the dynamic working with Ari Lennox?

Fresh: F###### amazing. Easy. At this point in time, the level that we’re at, it’s the pros. If you’re here, you belong here. It’s deeper than talent. Are you going to work for it and be disciplined enough to deliver? It doesn’t matter where they take you if you’re good at your job, you gon’ do it everywhere you’re at. Ari’s another one I’m excited for. During a time of black struggle, blacks being triumphant and standing up, humanity starting to see we’re keeping it real: black people deal with a lot of s### other races don’t have to deal with. Not saying they don’t, but not to the detriment of what we deal with. To see a young queen survive all that and sing about black beauty is a real beautiful thing. She’s not on some “b####, hoe, f### a n*gga,” it’s good f###### music. It might be sexy sometimes, but who doesn’t like that?

AllHipHop: 9 Grammy noms and one win is impressive. What’re you most proud of to date? 

Fresh: I’ma keep it real. I’m nominated for 6 Grammys: 5 with “Black Parade” and Black Is King, one for “Collide” from Queen & Slim. If you see the thread of that, I never called a woman a b#### in either of those songs. I never talked about killing my own. I almost went against the grain of what we’re up against and did it at such a high musical taste during black excellence that it resonated in the world. Showed me I don’t have to conform for excellence. To me if that’s not true black excellence, what is? 

AllHipHop: What does it mean to be a black man in America today?

Fresh: We’re still asking that question. What it means sometimes is blatant disrespect, the disrespect that gets underneath your skin. When somebody’s doing some s### but they make you think you’re stupid for knowing they’re doing the s###? That’s what it feels like being a black man in American. I know that if I drive this 2021 you’re not pulling me over because it’s a 2021. You’re pulling me over because it’s a black man in a 2021. You have no other reason because we’re profiled. Either we’re a ball player or a drug dealer, no one ever walks up to us when your black and says “are you a surgeon?” I can’t be intelligent because I’m black?

Look at me, I protested 7 times this year. NY and the rest in LA. You get tired. That’s what “Black Parade” is about, it’s a celebration of us. Stop apologizing for something that’s God-given. Why should anyone feel lesser? A lot of that had to do with the reflection of the presidency, choices of words. Not to be political but that s### ignites things and had racists excited about life. 

It started to reveal to the world which is the blessing of 2020, the clarity was y’all really on some b####### with black people. My Asian friends, my Caucasian friends, my Latin friends, my Indian friends for once, they had no choice but to see it. You can turn a blind eye but just know you’re moving in ignorance. When you’re sitting at home and there ain’t s### to do, you’re dealing with Covid like me, well f###. You’re murdering people like that? In the streets? To be black in America is almost like a death sentence.

AllHipHop: Any last words?

Fresh: If life was a bank and cash was energy, you want to deposit as much good energy as you can. When you withdraw from it, the checks will be unlimited. I’m living in my unlimited moments right now.