Greg Porn

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Bio

Greg Porn is a revolutionary.

Porn’s new mixtape, Amerikin Junkie (out March 5), follows his critically acclaimed series of collaborations with hip-hop legends The Roots. This impressive body of work spans the group’s last four records, from 2006’s Game Theory to last year’s powerful concept album Undun. The Philadelphia-born emcee spins dark poetry in endless webs, ensnaring listeners in complex metaphors and running threads while his rhymes creep in for a kill you can’t help but look forward to.

Amerikin Junkie is not a typical debut for a hip-hop artist, but Greg Porn is not a typical hip-hop artist. Amerikin Junkie is a statement; a genre-bending creation that explores what it is to be hip-hop, to be American—to be Greg Porn.

“At a certain point, I realized I couldn’t please everybody,” Porn says. “When that happened, I started not giving a fuck anymore. I believe in karma, so I try to put out good vibes, and I get good back. But when it starts to feel like I’m only getting bad coming back at me, it throws me off. I had to insulate myself—I had to get into what I really like. I can’t please everybody, so I decided that whatever leaves fall off this particular tree when the season changes about me, that’s what I have to deal with. And I was cool with that.

“Once I was in this new headspace, friends, family and whoever else—if you couldn’t accept me for who I was, then we keep it moving. I started looking back at myself, not in comparison to everybody else, butinto what I was doing. And from there I was able to find this new sense of realism, a new sense of what it is to be an artist, a writer, a human being.”

Porn points to groundbreaking TV series like Curb Your Enthusiasm, Girls and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia as unexpected sources of inspiration. “It’s a different sense of comedy,” he says. “The days of sitcoms and laugh tracks are over with. And that realization put pressure on me—I had to find my artistic craft in that. What I’m saying has to be timeless or work in some progressive fashion. And with Amerikin Junkie, we got there.”

In line with his shifting perspective, Porn decided to leave behind the safe and familiar confines of Roots producer Larry Gold’s studio, where he’d always recorded in the past. It was an essential move on his journey to discover the cutting-edge sounds he was seeking. Not that the old studio wasn’t state-of-the-art, it’s just that you can’t create a set of songs like Amerikin Junkie with a safety net.

“As a solo artist,” Porn says, “it never came together as a whole idea until I started working at Mike Jerz Studio with Mike and Ali Bey [of BeatKhemist]. They were able to bring my ideas to life.”

With these two gifted producers (and Porn’s cousin Damion Ward) taking turns at the helm, Amerikin Junkie is a seedy, street-wise affair—eclectic, shot through with world-class hooks yet slathered in the hyperreal grime Porn has come to crave. “It’s reality music,” he says of his inventive yet unpretentious album. “Up in your face, lyrical—super lyrical—but easy to digest.”

Greg Porn is a paradox; his rhymes are built like a mad professor’s chalkboard scrawls—intricate, full of symbolism and nuance—but when the lights go on, everything is in its right place. Each verse of Amerikin Junkie is a cinematic rendering, a glimpse into Porn’s clandestine and often shocking world. Every track is a hedonistic platter of angst, offered up in the lifer emcee’s instantly identifiable tone and cadence, his delivery alternately nihilistic and affecting as he recounts pulpy Bukowski-esque tales of excess and debauchery, fingering the jagged grain of addiction—not necessarily to transcend it, but to embrace it as an essential part of the human experience.

Sex, drugs, love, pain, money, power, success, comfort—“Everybody’s addicted to something,” Porn says, meditating on the impulses behind Amerikin Junkie. “It’s human nature. That’s how capitalism works, it’s the underlying current that fuels life. You have to eat, you know? That’s just animal nature. Your body needs it. But life has become so much about convenience and customer service; making people feel more comfortable and user-friendly, and with these things it’s about feeding people’s need to be coddled, their need to be pleased or pleasured or entertained. And some people get entertainment out of different things in life. Some people are chasing money, and some people are spending money. That’s what I see. Addiction is what makes the world go-round.”

From its screaming-demon loops channeling Wu-Tang’s rawest bars (“Dot”) to its fresh-faced guest spots (Freeway, Nikki Jean, Suzanne Christina, Patti Crash) Junkie is raw, real, cool. Its creator Greg Porn is no flash-in-the-club, he’s an artist—one with something fresh to say and a brain-bending way of unspooling it from his tongue. As a member of The Legendary Roots Crew and a longtime cohort of emcees Black Thought, Dice Raw, Truck North and STS in The Money Making Jam Boys, he’s got cred worldwide. He’s unashamed, unafraid. A master of his own reality, ready to spit lucid truth as fast as he experiences it. Greg Porn is a man who has realized his own place in hip-hop. He’s been on the inside too long, he knows what he must do next and he doesn’t care what bridges burn. And that makes him, quite possibly, the most dangerous man in the industry.

“The music is starting to really crack,” Porn says. “This is just the beginning…”

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