Southside Chicago’s very own, Phor is an artist who works while others rest.
Motivated by a ‘hustler’ environment, he avows to get no shut-eye until everything is accomplished. In between rhyming with a slate of confidence, Phor often switches his flows to keep listeners on edge.
His music tells a tale of determination, optimism, wisdom, luxurious living, gratitude, and of course, retrospection.
“In lyricism, you have to be able to tell a story,” he says. “It’s all about connecting with the audience.”
Still, this isn’t the only technique that Phor abides by. Flipping through his discography, one will also discover Phor’s way with metaphors and punchlines. Take, for instance, his latest track, “Cardio.”
As the song plays, individuals will hear metaphors that could fit as perfect Instagram captions, a la “Like Jesus, I’m walking on water.” Likewise, he throws out funny punchlines that’ll leave anyone in tears, “Sun is out, gettin’ blacker than Akon.”
Outside of music, Phor was apart of VH1’s Black Ink Crew: Chicago. To date, Phor is considered a prominent tattoo artist in the game. During our interview, Phor even unveiled that rap icon and his good friend, DMX, hit him up for a tattoo a while back.
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Phor got his moniker from his grandfather. The name essentially means to carry on, and this is something that Phor says rings true when it comes to his family.
Growing up, he listened to hip-hop stars like Jay-Z
Another factor that drove Phor to the music was a friend who, he says, was excellent at freestyling and could pretty much talk about anything. These two, coupled with his neighborhood, pushed his passion beyond its limits.
His mother inspires him along with Kevin Gates, D.M.X., and Steve Harvey, to name a few. However, Phor’s biggest motivator is God and all-around positivity.
“My outlook on life is, if I have another day, then I have another chance and another opportunity to change my situations.”
To put into better words, Phor opts to turn his negatives to positives daily. One verse he resonates with comes off his song, “Run Through.” He raps, “Man up in the mirror told my mama I can do this/I know I got the talent I’d be dumb not to use it.”
For those who also aspire to rhyme, Phor advises them to be authentic and to stay relevant. Moving forward, he plans on releasing a 13-track effort titled Self-Love, which goes to say, “everything I’m not made me everything I am.”
Self-Love will drop sometime in May 2020. And in the future, Phor hopes to collaborate with Kevin Gates or Wiz Khalifa.
Phor’s latest single “Cardio” falls as a workout anthem for both the gym-rats and beginners who are trying to follow a healthy lifestyle. For a couple of years, Phor has been exercising heavily.
Recently he started doing the StairMaster, which has become his favorite machine to use when at the gym. “Cardio” formulated when Phor heard the song’s beat. Shortly after, he put the pen to the pad and flew straight to the studio.
Once he hopped into the booth, he got more into it,
“Being in the gym was a physical thing, at first. But then, as time progressed, it helped me gain a stronger mentality,” he says.
Sometimes you just gotta go!
On “Cardio,” Phor showcases his self-confidence through witty metaphors and punchlines, a no-nonsense tone in his bouncy cadence, and brutally-honest lyrics.
Throughout the song, he tells-all about working around the clock while others let the snooze button ring, his elite drip game, his way with women, and how health truly is wealth.
Elsewhere Phor also mentions how he upholds loyalty towards those who’ve been there from the jump. Not to mention, “Cardio” carries a catchy hook. Eventually, one will find themselves repeating it amid trying to catch their breath while pumping iron.
One notable line from the track goes, “I’m all on the grind. In the mirror, I tell myself it’s time.” The beat consists of a wind percussion that stands-out from start to end, 808 slides, and subtle hi-hats. In summary, “Cardio” touches on his journey combatting depression with a healthier lifestyle and working out in a lighthearted way.
The music video for “Cardio” is a spoof of one scene from the 1996 science-fiction comedy flick, The Nutty Professor. Ultimately, Phor found inspiration in Eddie Murphy’s role in the film and decided to work off this concept.
In the beginning, we see Phor reenacting one scene from The Nutty Professor, which shows Murphy’s character in a depressive state, on the couch, eating sweets, and flipping through TV channels.
Though Murphy takes a glance at romantic and thriller movies, one infomercial, in particular, makes him cry a river. The mentioned commercial shows what seems to be a fitness trainer talking about how depression often leads one to overeat.
Amid this, he consoles the woman by his side, whos crying about her troubles with healthy eating habits. The difference with Phor’s rendition, however, is that the person on TV encourages the obese-version of Phor to “stop feeling sorry for yourself and get to the gym.”
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Afterward, the music video transitions to the rapper donning a pair of Yeezys and a red sweatsuit. In light of making changes to get fit, Phor finds himself mindlessly snacking on not-too-good foods like donuts (which are shortly knocked out of his hand by a fitness trainer).
His ‘reality check’ sets in after he daydreams about getting his dream girl. From there, he semi-tries to get in shape by running on the treadmill and lifting weights. As he leaves the locker room, he bumps into his fitness trainer, who reminds him to attend the gym’s aerobics class at 5 PM.
“The aerobics class scene was fun to film,” Phor says before adding, “When I was doing it, I was in the front, and the females were responsible for looking good behind me. I wasn’t sure if I was following the beat or if they were following my lead. I just hoped we coordinated well behind it.”
Next, Phor finds other ways to burn calories by using exercise balls, getting elbow massages from beautiful women, and trampolines for jumping jacks. Due to his progress, Phor finds himself getting more fit.
And towards the end, viewers see Phor with a beach bod, breezing through his workouts, and honing into boxing. In the long run, the video only proves that hard work does pay off.
His PSA to those who want to be healthier is to remind yourself why you’re doing it in the first place.
“Get in the gym and make sacrifices.”