If anyone understands the phrase “Detroit vs Everybody” it is Denaun Porter aka Mr. Porter. In 2006 the MC, singer and Grammy Award winning producer lost his friend and bandmate, Proof of D-12, due to a fatal confrontation outside of a pool hall on 8 Mile Road. The event irreparably damaged the Dirty Dozen, which included members Eminem, Bizarre, Kuniva and Swift. While they managed to release some mix tapes in the time after Proof’s death, they still have not released another album as a complete unit.
Denaun dealt with the tragedy like many in his position would, doing just enough to keep busy but maintaining a relatively low profile. However, this year he is making plans for a personal comeback which includes a cleaning out of his digital closet that fans will definitely benefit from.
“After Proof got killed and we went through that craziness, I was making beats but I wasn’t cataloguing or listening to them,” Denaun Porter tells WatchLOUD.com. “I was making them and setting them off to the side. Because when you’re in a state of depression you’e not consciously doing things. You’re just doing it. I was just trying to do anything to keep myself busy, but I didn’t really listen to them. So I have two drives full of beats that I didn’t listen to. The only people that heard them technically was Royce, Em heard a couple and my man Marv Won rapped over one of them.”
The vinyl-only project will be released by Fat Beats on Record Store Day and comes with some special goodies.
“There are 2008 copies and they come with a bucket hat because Proof used to rock a bucket hat, that’s why I’m wearing one now. I’m in that mode,” he says. “Two of the records will have an unreleased song with Proof on it and this John Mayer type song called ‘Where Will I Go.’ One person in the world will have each song. After I give it to them I won’t have the song anymore and I’m writing them a note: Hey you can keep it to yourself, we live in a world where people share things, this was a sacred thing to me I’m giving it to you as a gift. You can be the only person with it or you can share it. It’s up to you.”
Being creative was one outlet but Denaun felt that he needed to make changes that would take him away from the daily grind of the music industry.
“In reality as an artist everybody goes through sh*t,” he says. “I took two to four years just to love me again. I didn’t love myself. I’m ok with walking away from something. I didn’t totally walk away from music. I scored a movie in that time, I started a sound design company. I took on different shapes of things. But I love music like it’s a woman. So sometimes you gotta let that woman be that woman and step out of the way if y’all having issues. I wasn’t in love with it the way I wanted to be, so I stepped back. I don’t wanna do it wrong. I’m not gonna milk the game. I’m not here for that. I love what I do. God gave me an opportunity to be here to do that. I been shot. When I was 15 I got shot and put my parents through hell and flatlined three times in the process. I know that life is short. But sometimes you forget [that] when life moves at a million miles per hour.”
Denaun also looked for guidance from one of his mentors, Dr. Dre, who had gone through several ups and downs, including the death of his son in 2009.
“I asked him, ‘Yo Doc, forget the money sh*t. You’re happier. I’ve seen you go through your sh*t. I was there. How you get there?’,” he says in earnest. “And the first thing he told me was ‘Find your happiness.’ So that’s what I was doing, taking the time to find my happiness.”
As a result, Denaun will be releasing the aforementioned Great Depression and another solo body of work called Nine.
“I called it ‘Nine’ because it’s my first baby that I’m putting out there. People abort music to me. It’s like a baby to us. It’s my first complete idea. It’s a very mature project but there could be a lot of mistakes made. that’s what children are. The songs feel really big. I’ve produced very big songs and very underground songs. I don’t live in one place. I’m singing, I’m rapping, I’ve got an instrumental joint. It’s a lot of things. I’ve never been this happy with something. So I’m releasing it because I’m happy. I’ve never been this happy with something. And I’m happy with myself.”
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