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Name: Adam Bernard
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About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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Artist Of The Week - Fresh Daily
Monday, November 03, 2008

To say I’ve known Fresh Daily for a while would be an understatement. I knew him back when he rhymed under a different name and was part of a totally different crew. Now he’s heading up the AOK Collective and the name Fresh Daily is well known and highly respected throughout NYC. He has a unique style and a personality which exudes zero ego. Fresh Daily isn’t just good at emceeing, he has a lot of fun doing it. This week I sat down with him to talk a little bit about his history, how the AOK Collective came to be, and the Fresh Daily album that’s nearly four years in the making.

Adam Bernard: Start everyone off with some basic background info; where are you from and how did you get into Hip-Hop?
Fresh Daily: I'm from Brooklyn, NYC, where the absolute best rappers are bred. I began rapping in 1998 at every NYC hip-hop/spoken word open mic under a different alias that got shut down due to copyright issues. Blessing in disguise. I started getting booked for PAID shows in 2004, so I guess you can say that was the beginning of me becoming a paid musician.

Adam Bernard: Now, if I recall correctly, your first album was the classic debut by Arrested Development. How did having that as one of your initial influences affect your view of what the mainstream turned into?
Fresh Daily: Ugh, the mainstream this, the mainstream that. Enough! In 2008 there’s no more "mainstream." Even "mainstream" artists have gone indie. Jay-Z is doing songs with Santogold, T.I is sampling M.I.A. Huh? What? This is the most do-it-yourself era EVER. I loved Arrested Development then for the same reason I love them now, individuality and musicanship. Arrested Development was also the first view for me into Knowledge of Self as a black man in an art form that interested me and made it relevant.

Adam Bernard: You recently went from having a long relationship with UVInk to starting the AOK Collective. What sparked this transition?
Fresh Daily: Really, Substantial moving away to Maryland in the middle of working on my album. {laughs} Probably the biggest favor he ever did me. Substantial provided me with a nest with UVInk and when I got too big for that nest his moving to another state kinda pushed me out that nest. Thankfully my wingspan is pretty big. I just was kinda alone with half-finished work, stuck. UVInk’s manager, Ope went on to do documentaries and was finished with UVInk. Insanate went back to college and began to delve more into the production side of music with his cousin, Mighty Joe. Naturel was long gone and lost into designing clothes for Rocawear, and I decided to drop a few mixtapes. I got a new manager and we began finishing up some of the album, but I missed that support of my fellow artists, so I looked around at all my friends who I was hanging with at the time that did music and decided that we should band together and make a definitive scar across the face of Hip-Hop’s indie scene in NYC and soon, everywhere. It wasn't difficult and I didn't have to look very far. The selection process had to be natural.

Adam Bernard: Did it surprise you that all of these soloists were so receptive to forming a group and sharing the spotlight?
Fresh Daily: If I could tell you the teeth I had to pull initially with some of the heads in AOK to be down you wouldn't believe it, but I’m a man with a vision, yo. I presented my vision of a way to build a guild, a brand, a consortium, while all remaining individuals with quality control. Some emcees left after accepting my initial invitation with the feeling of being crowded and sharing spotlights and such. None have really gone on to make quite the same splash we're currently making however. The beauty of it all is we are not a group, we are not a label, we are not a crew. We are simply a support system of friends and associates who make music together and elsewhere on a higher level and standard. Consider it "high-end Hip-Hop". Approach it with the same level you would as a hard to find sneaker with a collabo from a hard to find company with a history of quality, made in limited quantities. Then you'd have some kind of idea of what we're doing, minus all the hype and pretentious exclusion.

Adam Bernard: What do you feel makes you unique within the collective?
Fresh Daily: Aside from being visionary enough to create said collective? {laughs} Nah, I mean we all are just so different for different reasons you get so much variety. Me? I'm just a classic Brooklyn emcee with FUTURE aspirations with roots in the classic. I wanna be mentioned in the same breath as Mos Def and Big Daddy Kane and Jay-Z as being a fresh, lyrical urban BROOKLYN emcee.

Adam Bernard: Can we expect an album from you sometime soon?
Fresh Daily: Early next year will be the finished product that I began working with Substantial on in '05. It's gone through some pretty drastic changes, though. The beats from Illmind are all still there, but a lot of the lesser known producers/emcees work didn't stand the test of time. A lot of the original work sounded dated, so we brought in DJ Spinna, Oh No, Ski, 88 Keys and made it way fresher. I promised I wouldn't release this project until it had a real home with proper distro and a publicist, etc. Now it does, with Sucio Smash over at HighWater Music and Brooklyn Bodega. Things done right, y'know? AOK will be present in my music by my collabos with AOK members, whether that be production or vocals.

Adam Bernard: Finally, I know your name, at least in part, comes from your love of kicks. You even made a sneaker reference earlier in this interview. So, do you have a favorite pair, and what have been some of your most recent finds?
Fresh Daily: I've been a lot less into sneakers lately to be honest. Recently however, a week before my b-day, I found a converse WTAPS collabo leather kicks that I love to death. WTAPS is a Japanese company that doesn't do streetwear. They do dressy, semi-casual fly shit. So the kicks are real dressy and look like wingtips. Dope. I’ve been more into t-shirt collecting and vintage shopping, though. I DID find the Asics low gel X Alife collabo kicks for under $40 while vintage shopping. That kinda made my day. I mean, I’m not gonna tell you how old I am, but I’m not a kid anymore, I moved into a duplex, I got a girl, it's not reasonable for me to spend $500 every two weeks on kicks anymore.

Related Links

MySpace: myspace.com/freshdotdaily
MySpace: myspace.com/aokcollective
Brooklyn Bodega: brooklynbodega.com
Adam’s World: Fresh Daily – No Loincloth Necessary
Adam’s World: Hip-Hop's Going To Be AOK

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