Cornerstone Credentials: Doug E. Fresh
Doug E. Fresh has been exciting the crowds since he had a curly flattop and a Bally's jacket — the man just doesn't age. Not only does he remain a relevant performer 30 years later by touring around the globe all year 'round, but his younger peers are keeping his name on the radio by putting his moniker in their songs.
Lil' Wil dropped "My Dougie" — which, of course, is slang for being fresh — a couple of years ago, and in 2010, the youngsters have been all about the Cali Swag District dance anthem "Teach Me How to Dougie."
"I look at it as a blessing," Fresh said about getting props from a younger generation of artists. "It surprises me too. I was talking about it yesterday with some of my friends. Every year, it seems to be another song, another thing with the dance or something. I always say, 'Man, the Creator is preparing me for something. He's keeping the sun on me for some reason. He's keeping me aligned with that generation.' Because I genuinely love people, I love hip-hop, and I love using it as a tool to communicate and to create a better vibration. Life is short. I guess I'm lined up for a reason. I'm coming up with new music, I'm in the best shape of my life, I'm real sharp, my energy is strong. I look at it as: I'm just following the energy. That's how I sum that up."
Fresh is working on a slew of projects to keep up his momentum.
"My sons, they go by the name of Square Off," he said. "I enjoy helping. I have new music coming out. I'm working on some television shows. I still do a tremendous amount of concerts. I'm doing my restaurant. I got a club coming in New York. The restaurant is called Doug E. The club is called Fresh. It's a lot of different things going on. I'm developing a couple of real-estate projects. I'm looking forward to doing things with different artists. Me and Pharrell are doings some things. Teddy Riley, Timbaland, probably me and Will.I.Am. It's gonna be nice, man. It's a blessing. I'm going to bring in different people who can enhance the energy I'm coming with. I don't wanna bring in people for name recognition. I wanna get them because the energy lines up. There will probably be some new artists on the project. My sons Square Off, they're gonna be on the project."
Fresh was out in the New Orleans during Fourth of July weekend for the Essence Music Festival, and he said the annual extravaganza is something he looks forward to every year.
"Essence is something I always enjoy, because I love New Orleans," the vet said. "Since they brought it back to New Orleans, it's a special place to me. We been doing it since the beginning. We did it when it was in Houston, but there's nothing like New Orleans. This year, it's special. It's a good vibe out here. I'm just glad to see so many of us get together for something positive.
"I think the rebuilding of the city has to start with the spirit first," Fresh added. "So the music, the vibe, the connection spiritually with the artists. Everybody out here is the main key. A lot of people are still in a lot of tough situations. My heart still goes out to the people of New Orleans. I still got a lot of love for the people who haven't made it back to New Orleans. It's a process. The first step is to spiritually line yourself up with good and doing greater things beyond yourself and helping brothers and sisters get themselves on their feet. Through us coming here, it creates jobs. It creates opportunities, and it brings money to the city. That doesn't hurt. It helps."