Smiling from ear to ear, Free P laughs as he reminisces on his early experimentations with music. The Tennessee native has been self taught from the birth of his career. “I actually first understood what production was through video games. There’s this older game “Frequency” that allowed me to remake certain songs,” he explains. It wasn’t much longer until full fledged music experimentation unfolded. Now a young teenager, Free P began testing out the production software Fruity Loops and saw a window of creative opportunity.
As adolescence came to a halt, Free P packed up and moved to Murfreesboro, TN – home of Middle Tennessee State University. Monumental connections were about to solidify, all coming in the form of new friendships. In unison this new group of creatives built something that would transcend all of them. A congregation of talent was now forming, dubbing themselves The House – sound familiar?
Accompanied by Isaiah Rashad, Michael Da Vinci, Rikki Blu & Kembe X amongst others, Free P developed a sense of discipline and purpose. “That 2011-2012 grind was different. At the time, I was solely focused on helping my brothers through my production. Not only were we building together, but I was honing my craft and bouncing ideas off of talented ass people. All while trying to figure out what it meant to be a man,” he says candidly. This existential conversation pulsating through his brain would lead him on a voyage of self discovery and success.
Following a year and a half stay in Atlanta, the winds of opportunity pushed Free P back to Tennessee. “I needed to dial back in and make a plan,” he explains. This plan would reveal itself in the form of a 10 day trip to LA to visit Rikki Blu. A little over a week to help Rikki finish his album and even some much needed sunlight, he thought. What he didn’t know is that this ten day trip would be a permanent stay.
“I remember I had my flight back later that afternoon. I was sitting with Rikki, Cody and Liz and they convinced me to stay. They all asked, “What’s really there for you in TN?”” The question and advice from his peers brought him to tears. “When I looked at the situation, I saw they were right. I had an array of opportunity that was unavailable in Tennessee,” he explains. Now three years in California, Free P’s transition wasn’t ever what he imagined.
“You can’t fully grasp LA until you live here. It’s both beautiful and dangerous at the same time. You have to move the right way out here or it could be your life,” he reminds me. For Free P, acclimating to culture shock was alleviated by his close knit circle. Eventually moving in with some of his closest friends Isaiah Rashad, Michael Da Vinci, and 40, the camaraderie surrounding them in Woodland Hills would spark a fury of creative energy. For Isaiah, it was The Sun’s Tirade which Free P worked on, producing ‘Find A Topic.’ Free P channeled his energy into his debut project as a ‘rapper’ with “AnyDayNow.”
“I remember that day like it was yesterday, man. April 17th, 2018 I dropped the album after a long discussion with Mikey D. (Michael Da Vinci) Aside from laying down verses on the album, he was the one of the first to really believe in me and tell me I could actually do this shit,” explained Free P.
As 2019 came into fruition, so did the drive to compound off his first rap release. A ball of energy was expanding in his soul, and he knew it was time to put together another project. Now aligned with The He(A)rd, a team that consists of Sylvan LaCue, Merlaku Ra + more, Free P finds himself yet again surrounded by gifted artists.
Around the past few months, a cohesive idea was planted. As with many people, the seeds of failed relationships can manifest into all different kinds of emotion. For Free, these pivotal life experiences are creative sparks.
“When I love someone, I really truly love them. When that doesn’t work out, it deeply affects me. Putting together this album was therapy in that sense. I put my soul into it, and tried to tap into that vunerability. Whether it’s not having a fucking car, smoking too much or dealing with failed relationships, the new album has it.”
His latest album, 2LIVE4U, is a powerful message of understanding yourself and what you really have to offer the world. Articulately candid in our conversation, Free P explained the takeaway he’s absorbed from countless studio sessions. “I’m at a place now where I truly feel free of the mask I had put on myself, I’m ready to open up.”
2LIVE4U is visual representation of the tumultuous journey taken. The 13 track album fits years of experiences into a 33 minute timeframe, an undoubtedly difficult achievement. Even the artwork itself effectively tells a story, which is rarely the case anymore.
“If you flip the photo upside down, you will see I’m hanging with a pick in my hair. The message I’m trying to convey is one of empathy and vulnerability. It’s time to really let it go. In the past, you wouldn’t have caught me without my hat on. Taking it off is my version of unmasking my true identity,” he reiterates passionately.
Now in the prime of his life, the level of clarity emitting from Free P’s vocals only affirm his purpose he sought to understand. As Free enters his late 20’s, the wisdom obtained by years of professional success have left him with a passing reminder to those working towards their dreams. “Be relentless in your pursuits, but more importantly understand why you’re here and who you’re here for. Who do YOU live for?”
2LIVE4U is available everywhere. Follow Free P on social & streaming platforms to stay in the loop.
Feature + Promotion Photos: Urnghbr
Production Credits: Free P, Cassic, E, Wondertwins, ThankGod4Cody & Crooklin