Denaun Porter Talks Eminem, Shady Records & His Own Growth [Feature]
Denaun Porter is a man of many names and more talents. Whether you know the Detroit native as Denaun, Mr. Porter, or Kon Artist, you probably also know him for for his beats, rhymes, hooks and stage show. On the boards, the 32-year-old beatsmith is the man behind G-Unit’s “Stunt 101,” 50 Cent’s “P.I.M.P.,” and at least one record on all of Eminem’s releases (including all of Infinite) except for Relapse. In the last two weeks alone, the Mr. Porter-produced “I Just Wanna F*ck,” from Game’s Purp & Patron, and “Sun Doobie,” off next week’s Slaughterhouse EP, have hit the ‘net. With 2011 already off to a busy start—between placements, Detox work, and prepping his solo EP The Memo—Denaun took some time to chop it up with XXL about working with Dre and Em, the first and second generations of Shady Records (the latter of which is on our current cover), the stupidity of rap beef and more. —Adam Fleischer
I know you’ve been around Eminem a lot recently. What else have you been up to?
Just rebuilding. Doing the hypeman job; playing my position when it comes to production; and also sharing ideas when I have them. In 2009, we talked about getting some new people, new artists, and kind of rebuilding that, as well. I’m always there anyways, in anything he does production wise alone, and then being a member of the group, playing that position. It’s been really a rebuilding process with that and then with myself personally with my own career as a producer. I got a lot of placements coming out next year; maybe 10 placements in two months. I’m still going. I got a lot more to go. Really man, it’s just been a long road for all of us.
You mentioned that when Em is producing, you said you’re there most of the time?
Yeah. You know, me producing with him, a lot of times, when it’s a project that he’s doing, I’m there as an artist as well as a friend. For me, it’s just a regular two-step. However I can help. I like to consider myself a man of many talents. Like, I don’t have a particular job. Whatever a job may call for, I always stand up to make it happen.
What’s it been like playing hype man? I saw you guys over at Yankee Stadium which was a crazy show.
Yeah, man. It was a tough thing in the beginning, just because that has always been Proof. And when he asked me to do it, all I could think about was--I can’t fill those shoes. I could never fill those shoes. So I had to bring something different to the table. Whatever I could bring to the table. For him asking me to do that, I felt like it was a step for me. It was like him thinking and feeling I was ready to do something and he could depend on me.
Were you hesitant at all at first?
Nah, nah. Because Em is like my brother. So it’s like, if my big brother was hurt and he couldn’t take care of my mother or something like that, I would have to do that, and he would expect that of me. And it was the same thing with Em. I didn’t think twice, because I wanna have his back like he always had my back. And I was like, Who else is gonna do it? It didn’t make sense any other kind of way. Me and him have been around each other for years, before all of the--where he is right now.
When are you planning on dropping The Memo?
I’ve got maybe two albums worth of material for myself. I was just getting comfortable being behind the mic again. I’m trying to have a video out by February. I’m trying to approach it differently. Most times people do an EP just to get their awareness up. I’m doing everything. I hold a lot of great material for myself. Like I got a record right now that would be huge for Jay-Z or even 50. If Swizz did the hook. I’ll probably have Swizz do the hook, cause I wrote it for him. I held a lot of material until I got comfortable. All of the videos I do, there’s gotta be some kick to em. I don’t wanna just do em to do 'em. They gotta be edgy and artsy.
Thinking back, when you guys dropped Devil's Night, it debuted at No. 1 on Billboard. Could you watch the shift happen? Or it was more of an overnight thing?
Yeah, we did a couple million. It was crazy. I don’t remember what age I was at the time, but I’m still that age now. At that time, what people don’t really know when they get in this business, your success goes from 1-60. I don’t care who you are, and everything changes. Everything that you know is not the same. People aren’t the same. You aren’t the same. You try to hold on to those things, but you have to let them go. For me, I don’t know what it would be like to be a regular 32-year-old, cause I’m not a regular 32 year old. You know what I’m saying?