9Mag tattoo artist, Phor, shared some of the drama behind Black Ink Crew: Chicago, and how he is transitioning from tattoo art to making music in a new video interview with uInterview.com.

PHOR VIDEO EXCLUSIVE

Phor rose to popularity from his co-starring role on the Vh1 reality show Black Ink Crew, which follows a group of friends coming up from the streets of Chicago to form 9Mag, a now successful tattoo parlor. Drama, business rivalry, and romance frequently threaten the stability of the business, and Phor is frequently caught in the mix, as a notable ladies man and party-goer. In season two however, he stressed that most of the gang is doing their own thing, which means he has no idea what drama will make it into each episode. “Expect the unexpected,” he teased. “I say that because we didn’t necessarily work as a team this time, you know, it’s a lot of individuality going on, so, it’s like I’m kinda surprised to see some of the things that’s already been airing.” He did suggest that his latest fling did cause a stir in the episodes to come. “You know, me bringing, you know, my new chick that I’m feelin’ and dealin’ with now, you know, it was kind of unexpected, some people didn’t really see it coming.” Phor is easy-going about the nature of reality television, and countered that he doesn’t really worry about how he is portrayed, as that can be influenced solely by the choices made in the editing room. “It’s more so like we do our part and they do theirs. I’m not responsible for the edits, you know what I mean? So, it’s like I don’t know how they gonna make it. They can make it look crazy, you know what I mean?” he said. “I guess that’s kind of the fun part of it.”

Returning viewers might also know that Phor’s current assistant is his brother, Don. Close despite growing up in different households, he revealed that he wanted to help his brother when his career failed. “I was so busy with clientele I couldn’t book all my clients myself, so I made him my assistant over the last two years…So, you know, I got him on his feet again, on a business aspect, to keep money in his pocket,” he said. Don’s new status as a family man makes it hard for him to be a good assistant to his brother, though. “He’s not even at the shop as much because he’s trying to handle being at home now. Being a better person, being a father, versus just being my assistant and my brother. But, I still love him for who he is, but it’s just hard to manage right now. It’s just real crazy, so I may have to pick up another assistant. He doesn’t know that yet, though.”

Work problems aside, Phor revealed that it was thanks to Don that he started tattooing in the first place, translating his skills as a painter to drawing on skin one New Years. “He was my test dummy. He was just like, ‘Tattoo me, man! I’m your brother, man! I believe in you,’ which I appreciated,” he said.” But, I didn’t know what I was doing back then. But, I did it. I did the tattoo, and it was a domino effect.”

Phor has always had a passion for music, and in between tattooing you can find him in the studio, cranking out new tracks. Due to the success of one of his singles, the aspiring rapper released his first album, Lightning Bug. “That was my first album and that’s the first single off there.” he said. “So, it’s been a really good response and I’m still building on it, and I just wanna reach as much people as I can, because it’s a really good tape start to finish.”

Catch Phor and the rest of the Black Ink crew on Vh1.


Q: What’s coming up on this season of ‘Black Ink Crew’? -

Expect the unexpected. I say that because we didn’t necessarily work as a team this time, you know, it’s a lot of individuality going on, so, it’s like I’m kinda surprised to see some of the things that’s already been airing and still to come, so, you knkow, I’m only responsible for what I’ve been putting out, you know? My dirt or whatever, so I don’t know how anybody else is betraying me this season.

Q: Can you tease any upcoming drama? -

I think one of the craziest moments was probably—just aired yesterday, actually. You know, me bringing, you know, my new chick that I’m feelin’ and dealin’ with now, you know, it was kind of, you know, unexpected, some people didn’t really see it coming. They still were kind of stuck in story mode from season one, so it was kinda new introducing her and bringing her into my lifestyle and what comes with it. It was just kind of a new thing, you know? So that was kinda, you know, unexpected to see, but people actually—they like it so it’s been good.

Q: Do you worry about how you are portrayed on the show? -

It’s more so like we do our part and they do theirs. I’m not responsible for the edits, you know what I mean? So, it’s like I don’t know how they gonna make it. They can make it look crazy, you know what I mean? I can be talking to her, but it looks like I’m talking to you about something — it can just flip in so many different ways, so I guess that’s the crazy part about filming, you know, seeing it. And the thing is, I see it when everyone else sees it, it’s not like we know what’s gonna happen this season, so I guess that’s kind of the fun part of it.

Q: How is your relationship with your brother? -

My brother was going through a lot of, you know, he had a downer moment in his life after his career failed, you know, short for basketball, that was his thing, and he just got in a lot of trouble, so by me being an artist at 9 Mag I was so busy with clientele I couldn’t book all my clients myself, so I made him my assistant over the last two years. You know, that’s how I willed him into what I was doing when he was able to come back home, because he was out in St. Louis. So, you know, I got him on his feet again, you know, on a business aspect, to keep money in his pocket, you know. Then, during that whole process he had a newborn in his life and he was still trying to keep his happy home and be at work at the same time. So, fast forward a little bit, where it’s at now, he’s not even at the shop as much because he’s trying to handle being at home now. Being a better person, being a father, versus just being my assistant and my brother. But, I still love him for who he is, but it’s just hard to manage right now. It’s just real crazy, so I may have to pick up another assistant. He doesn’t know that yet, though.

Q: How did you get started tattooing? -

I’ve always been like an artistic person, it didn’t matter what it was or whether it was a piece of paper or me tattooing. It actually started by—tattooing was an accident, like I didn’t try. I was bored one New Years, and to bring up my brother again, he was my test dummy. He was just like,“Tattoo me, man! I’m your brother man! I believe in you,” which I appreciated. But, I didn’t know what I was doing back then. But, I did it. I did the tattoo, and it was a domino effect, like because before I was tattooing I was doing like paintings; and I took one of my designs and put it on his arm and then this chick he was dating at the time, she’d seen it, and it was a domino effect from there. Our whole basketball team wanted tattoos and mind you, this was a time where I didn’t even know what I was doing yet. I wasn’t even good, but they thought whatever I did on him was good enough at the moment, so it was kinda like practice makes perfect, or whatever. So, I had to just work my way to where I’m at.

Q: What has the process been like creating your first album? -

Actually, I’m always in the studio working and just making a lot of different music and different sounds and that record caught a liking to a lot of DJs. I sent it out the same night I recorded it, because I heard something different about the record, it kinda did something to me. So, I just wanted to send it out to see if it was just me tripping or not. Then, the next thing I know, the next day, I recorded the record, it was on the radio. All the DJs picked it up, it happened very fast, so it was a quick reaction that I didn’t expect to happen at that moment. But, it started growing legs right away. I didn’t even really know the song yet fully, because when I’m in the studio, I normally don’t write, I’m just in there punching. I just kind of coming up with it right on the spot, so it was still hard for me to really memorize it. Next thing I know, I’m doing performances and performances and I barely even know the words still. I’m just liking the track as a listener at that point, at the time. But it’s doing really well. The radios picked it up in Chicago, one of the main stations in Chicago is playing it like everyday. I think at least five or six times a day. That’s what made me drop my project “Lightning Bug,” the album. That was my first album and that’s the first single off there. So, it’s been a really good response and I’m still building on it, and I just wanna reach as much people as I can, because it’s a really good tape start to finish.