Eminem can build anticipation for any song, especially if that song features another rapper. Just look at his last three projects: Em had Dr. Dre and 50 Cent on his comeback album, Relapse. He traded verses with Lil Wayne on “No Love” from Recovery, which featured a nice flip of Haddaway’s “What Is Love” by Just Blaze. The Marshall Mathers LP 2, released in November 2013, had Marshall and Kendrick Lamar rhyming about a girl who did them wrong on “Love Game” over retro production by the legendary Rick Rubin. Em is very selective when it comes to his hip-hop collaborators, and Revival is no exception.
On Tuesday afternoon, he revealed the official tracklist to his ninth studio album, Revival, which is set to release on Dec. 15. In keeping with the theme of working with just one rapper, fans were excited—and a little surprised—to see Brooklyn’s Phresher featured on a song called “Chloraseptic.” Apparently, Em’s been a fan of him hearing the menacing “Wait a Minute,” which was remixed by 50 Cent and Remy Ma.
Phresher has been buzzing in the streets of New York as early as 2010, when he released “Polo Song,” which became the unofficial anthem for ’Lo heads. After dropping his first mixtape Take It Personal, Phresher kept delivering more anthems like “Danny Devito” and “On the Low” to get his name hot. That foundation helped get people to pay attention to his moves when “Wait a Minute” became the next NY hit to blow.
Phresher is ending 2017 with the biggest feature of his career. I got on the phone with him to talk about linking up with Eminem in the studio in New York, the concept of “Chloraseptic,” and what fans can expect from the song when Revival comes out next week.
Congrats on being the only rapper on Eminem’s Revival. On Instagram just now, you thanked God and Em for believing in you. Can you tell me when you first met Em?
It was crazy. They actually flew in from Detroit to New York, and they were here for just eight hours. I forgot the studio we was in, but they just flew in to do the record. This was at least two months ago.
When I first heard that he wanted me on the project, I was astonished. I didn’t believe anything until they actually flew in and recorded the record. That’s when I was like, “Oh! This is real.” It was about two months ago, three the most. That was just amazing, man. We met in the studio. That was just crazy.
Wow. Was this around August or September?
I would say August.
It was Eminem’s team who reached out and was like, “Yo, Em wants to work with you”?
Actually, Paul Rosenberg had made the call. He emailed and called my manager like, “Hey, Eminem wants Phresher on the project.” [Laughs.]
Did Em hear any of your music before?
Yeah, Eminem heard “Wait a Minute.” That’s what made him say “Yeah, I want this kid on the album, man.”
Eminem is known to push his collaborators to the limit. He once tested Kendrick Lamar to see if he could write his own raps by kicking everyone out in the studio. What was the vibe like when you were with him?
It was easy. He was pretty much like, “Yo, listen, this is the hook. I want you to lay this down right here.” It was easy. And then I started to add my own twist and that’s when it got real in there. I started harmonizing under the vocals and he was like, “Oh, nah, no. Hold on. Oh man!” He just got super excited. The whole Shady team was just excited.
Eminem is my favorite rapper. I know he didn’t believe me when I told him but I was just so astonished. This was my moment to shine. I did what he wanted me to do but I just put the PH on top of the extra sauce. And when I put the extra sauce, that’s when he was really going crazy. It was amazing.
Are we going hear you only on the hook? Or do you have a verse too?
I got a verse too, but I don’t know if the verse is on the album. I’m hearing it’s going to be a remix kind of vibe, but I have a verse and I have a hook. The hook for sure is there right now.
The song is called “Chloraseptic,” which is known for treating throat and mouth pain. What’s it about?
The record is about just spitting, man. Just going off, you get what I’m saying? Just cutthroat, at your throat music. Like, I’m on you, you know what I’m saying? Real right-at-you music. It’s just awesome, man. Eminem went crazy on it.
You two were in the studio for a couple hours. What were the conversations like?
I was trying to tell him he was my favorite rapper. But I know that’s so cliché. He was giving me so much props. I was like, “Nah, I don’t want to talk about me. I’m trying to tell you how I feel about you.” He was just telling me how he felt about me. I was just honored to hear how much he respected what I was doing. I was bugging.
He was like, “I heard the whole [Wait a Minute] EP.” I was like, “What?” That’s when I got upset. I’m like, “Aw, he heard the EP? I got way better music now.” He was like, “Listen man, when you do the project, before you drop it, send it to me.” I was like, “Aight, cool. Definitely gonna do that.” He’s about to get that in like two weeks.
How would you describe the emotions on the record? You’re saying like it’s raw.
Yeah, it’s raw as fuck, man. The emotions is just turnt up. It’s a turnt up record. It’s raw. That’s the perfect word for it. Eminem going off. The hook is just [crazy]. We going off. It’s at your throat like Chloraseptic.
Did you hear the song before the studio session?
Nah, I didn’t hear the record until I got there. I had to go right off the feel, but I was so excited. There was no bigger moment in my life than that moment. I was on Cloud 9 in there.
Do you know who produced the song?
Shady's in-house producer, Denaun Porter.
You’re at an interesting point in your career. You have a song with 50 Cent, and now with Eminem. Is Dr. Dre next?
That’s my focus right now—the next. God is good.
Is there anything you’re working on now that we can look forward to?
I’m working on a mixtape titled PH. We’re dropping it in January. Very excited about that. I’m going off. I’m very excited about these records. It’s another level of music this time around. I’m excited for people to get to hear that.
It’s actually a two-part mixtape: PH and PH20. We gonna drop that in January and right before March, we’re gonna drop PH20. We are just gonna hit them with a whole new sound, a whole vibe of PH and who I am. A lot of people have not heard enough music from me, but they’re about to hear it now.
To wrap up: how does it feel to work with one of the biggest rappers in the game?
It’s amazing. I keep saying that God is good, and I really appreciate Eminem for believing in me. He could have had any feature in the world, and he chose me. It’s an honor. Right now, my phone blowing up, my IG, everything is blowing up. Emails, everything. I’m just blessed. I feel really blessed at this moment.