Over the last year or so, Evan the Twerkgod has become one of the fastest rising rappers on the Detroit rap scene. Following his humble beginnings as a strip club photographer from Pontiac, Michigan, Evan the Twerkgod emerged onto the hip hop scene and demanded to be noticed. With a bombastic personality and an infectious energy, he has often been considered the highlight of whichever show he performs on. Speaking of shows, he has shared the stage with and opened up for some major names in the hip hop industry. Names like Lil Uzi Vert, OG Maco, Kap G, and Ugly God; the latter two appeared on this year’s XXL Freshman Class. It won’t be long before he becomes just as popular as those names listed above. It seems as though hard work is slowly starting to pay off for Evan the Twerkgod as in just the last 6 months alone, he has released a bevy of music projects. In February, he dropped his 2nd album, Too Blessed. Then, just a month later, he dropped a collab EP with Oba Rowland called Don’t Have Sex with Rappers. Finally, most recently in July, he dropped another collab project (this time, with Hotel Seprino) called Beach Trap 17′. The grind is real for Evan the Twerkgod and he’s showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. He stops by Patchchord News to discuss everything that has led him to where he is today.

originally photographed by @justinofadns

For those who don’t know, you got the name “Twerkgod” from your time as a strip club photographer. First off, what went down at the strip club for you to get the name “Twerkgod?”

I mean…not that I was the only strip club photographer. Many other photographers were in there taking pictures of people, but me, I was definitely focused on the girls. I was focused on the stripping and I was taking photos. I was uploading photos online all the time. I was always posting, posting, and posting trying to get people in that light. And that was when Twerkgod [as a brand name] was really booming. It was really just the name of my project that I had just to get in there. I was like “Hey man, I work for Twerkgod the company” and then, people just started calling me Twerkgod later on. And then I rolled with it because it got me into so many places. I think it’s funny now because I feel like everything has changed from the internet. Like, as far as shooting goes. Because now [people] post the most. But I got kicked off of Instagram because of shit I was posting and I got kicked off of Youtube because of what I was posting; I had a lot of followers. But right at that moment when I was doing that and I had gotten so many followers, I knew that I had to make a change from what I was doing and what I was trying to do. So I changed up everything.

How did you get that job to begin with, by the way?

I just wanted to do it. The more you take photos at the house, you just find yourself wanting to get more. And no girl could come around where I lived, ’cause I live in Pontiac and everybody else was in Detroit, so I had to go all the way out to Detroit to do a lot of Detroit activities to get to where I was at as far as the strip club world. That was my main focus, just getting that. It wasn’t about how I got the job. It was more about how I wanted the job. And then [my brand] just started boosting. Like, people would be like “Oh, yeah, call Twerkgod to come shoot at my event.” 

By any chance, did you also get the job because of your love of porn?

I think, actually, I fell in the lifestyle because of the love that I had for the porn world. I even worked with 1 Night for awhile doing stuff…creating content. That was after, more so, just to help my name, but I mean, I always had a love for the adult world. Even as a kid, I was selling pornos in, like, middle school. Burning DVDs and selling them. It was one of those things where I realized “sex sells.” It sells so fast, man, and I was just fascinated by it. 

Wait, you used to sell porn, too?

Yeah, yeah, yeah. You know, when I was in middle school, I was burning DVDs. Like, when I figured out something, I really figured it out. And then, I figured out how to make money off of it and I always had an entrepreneurial mindset when it comes to things. That was when I started selling porn, and then I actually started making porn with 1 Night. That was the next level, but I always hope to keep going further with my brand. 

When you say you made porn, you sold it to big companies or something?

Oh, no, no, no. I worked for 1 Night, so I was like a director of photography and a content provider for [the guy who owns the company]. For his brand. Like, if you go to 1 Night Entertainment, you’ll see some of the stuff he shot. But I just wanted to do my own thing because I had a different vision. So we parted ways, but that’s my boy. He always showed me love, but you know, I figured we always had two different things going for each other.

Speaking of your love for porn, you’ve mentioned before that porn influences you and your music. What about porn influences you?

Honestly, the freedom of it all. You know, in this hip hop game, these rappers like to think that they’re free, but their mind is not free. At the end of the day when your mind isn’t free and you’re not who you want to be, then you’re not going to be the best you that you can be. And really, people watch [porn] because it’s the stuff that they wouldn’t do. Half of the people who watch porn would never videotape themselves having sex, and that’s a big deal to me.

originally photographed by Anthony Rassam (@sxrreal)

Let’s talk about your music now. In just the last six months, you dropped a lot of music. You dropped your second album, an EP with Oba Rowland, and just recently, you dropped an EP with Hotel Seprino. How do you have the time and the motivation to do all of this?

It’s really through energy, but with me and Hotel made Beach Trap together, that was just where we wanted to be and we were just always around each other. Making songs and stuff. We also made “Dirty 30” from one of my previous albums, but you know, we all have friends and we all hang out. Our focus was to just create and so it helps with that. Oba Rowland was like one of those things where it was like a shock to me to even work with him. Believe it or not, Don’t Have Sex with Rappers is actually very old and happened before I even came out with my second album. Like, he heard “Lean Cuisine” in the studio and loved it. Then, he heard more songs and loved them. I was like “damn,” because to me, Oba Rowland is a legend. Coming from a strip club world, “Lifestyle” got played every time I was in there and it was one of the hardest songs that I ever heard by a Detroit artist. And, you know, I don’t necessarily do Detroit music, so for him to want to work with me was a big, big deal and it was a big, big opportunity for me. I was just so happy and excited more than anything. And that’s just really how the game goes. You gotta keep grinding and keep on pushing and do it when it comes in time because you never know what’ll happen. 

Beach Trap 17′ in particular had a more low key vibe to it compared to your usual party tracks. Were you trying something different or was that just the Hotel Seprino influence?

It was the Hotel Seprino influence. Believe it or not, I have another record named “Privacy” that I did with La’Britney and that was the influence. It’s out there. It’s on Heizenburr’s page, actually. Check him out. He makes everything. We were in the studio with La’Britney one day and I’m like, “man, yo, let’s do this album.” They were like “give us a reference of it.” So, I went in the studio and recorded a reference. And they were like “yo, I really like the record.” “For real?” “Yeah, keep it. Keep it like that.” So, like, she really was the start and the spark in me to want to dial out and do other things because she had such an interest in it. And then it turned out that everybody else liked it. So I knew that Hotel had that low key style to do that and so I started working with him. And when we started, we were just relaxing, smoking weed a lot, just foolin’ during the summer, but we didn’t have a hype summer. It was just, like, bonding and we had people around us that were just chill. It was a vibe thing. So I was always living in the “now” of whatever I create. I never go out trying to make turn up records like “Ok, I’m in it for this or that agenda.” It’s better than defining everything that I do. Don’t get me wrong, man, I love fucking music, but when I’m in a vibe, man, I just vibe out and make it. It’s one of those vibey things. Hotel has a vibe and I latched onto his vibe. 

originally photographed by @ukcameragod

Looking at your rap career in retrospect, at what point did you start to think that you could make a living doing this?

The moment my boss fired me. [Laughs]

From the strip club photography job?

I had a job screen printing t-shirts. That was my thing. And I was always rapping and stuff. Had a couple shows. Then, he sat me down one day and said “Hey man, look I want somebody at my job with longevity. Like, my business needs people who are here all the time and what you’ve got going on, you’re gonna make it. You’ve got to give it your all and so you gotta, truly, get it together.” Then I had two weeks to figure out how I was gonna make money. Like, that really forces you…like, being an artist who’s independent out there, like, having no job, will truly make or break you. It’s life or death. It’s hard to be just a rapper. That’s what it comes to, and that’s when you start to figure out who the real people are around you, who fake people are around you, and what people want from you. Because it’s easier to get money and do stuff when people see you do stuff, but when it’s your life put in, you start to see how many people stay for you and what you’re doing. And if you’re not putting in for you, you need to do better and that’s when you need to go harder and make yourself valuable.

 Looking at where you are in the rap game, what do you hope to get out of it? Or better yet, what do you hope to contribute to it? As far as goals?

Inspire people to create their own things and their own company. Entrepreneurial shit. The Twerkgod brand will not just stop at rapping. Twerkgod will eventually jump into other projects. That’s what I would hope. I’m in a learning stage right now. Hopefully, at the end of it, I make a bunch of money and become a staple as far as “Oh, look what you can do as long as you put your mind to it.” A lot of kids listen to this. And just, for example, man, I don’t even really be wearing brands or anything like that. Nor do I wear any diamonds and jewelry. A lot of rappers do that shit, but if I get on and I don’t do none of that shit, I just want love. I really want love. So I feel like if I really get on and I really start popping doing the things that I want to do, they’ll think “Wow, I can too.” Change perspectives. The youth is going to buy into stuff like this. Trying to be a rapper and living like this, and I understand why you want to look like this and have this lifestyle, but man, I don’t have shit that these rappers all have, dog, and I wanna make it just as bad so if I can make it on a platform where these motherfuckers pulled up in Lamborghinis and made a video where Ice-T has diamonds and shit, and I was a kid who had these dreams that came in performing for four years in Detroit laid up with a career in Pontiac driving a fucking van, kids will be like “Look, I can do this with ease. I don’t need to have what the fuck they have. I have this right here. I can start right now.” And that’s, like, motivation for everybody. You clearly represent more than yourself. You’re a mindset. You’re an idea. I want to encourage people to know that they can do this shit without fucking giving their life away to try to become the shit that others want them to be. 

originally photographed by Anthony Rassam (@sxrreal)

You mentioned that you didn’t want to keep the Twerkgod brand restrained to just rap. What other things do you want to branch out to with the brand?

Uh, visual audio…I don’t necessarily know what it’s going to become because the world is always changing every time, man. I just want to jump into different avenues. Whatever opportunities are out there. I hate to give away the gems for what my plans are, but I’m sure that the people that are my fans right now are really anxious to see what I have next. They’ve been following my brand forever and I’m always going to keep them in mind. 

Let’s talk about the XXL list for a second because you recently shared the stage with some of the guys who were on this year’s list. Guys like Kap G and Ugly God. My question is would you want to be apart of the XXL Freshman list? Do you feel like you need to be validated as a rapper on a list with a platform like that, or is it just a nice perk to have on your resume?

I mean, in this game, people like to say there’s one of two ways to look at it. Like, it’s all set up and schemey political, or it means something to be on it. Honestly, man, I just wanna be on it to spit some of the dopest raps. This is just me coming from a background…like all my songs are like fun songs for kids. Kids like fun music. I’m self aware of the things I’m saying, but I make fun music. I don’t make, you know, mind altering music that people have to shapeshift their way through. But if I ever get the opportunity to get on XXL, get on the cover of it, it’s always a blessing to be on anything like that because of what it represents no matter how you feel about it. Love it or hate it. If I didn’t wanna rap, I wouldn’t get on there with the dudes rapping. I’ve always been one of those people who needs that. Rappers today probably don’t care about [XXL] as much because they’re doing their thing, they’re getting their money, they’re paying their bills, they’re taking care of their own business. Like they’re bored or don’t care, but if [XXL] ask me to be apart of it, I’ll say “hell yeah.”

Recently, you announced on Twitter that you quit smoking weed for the sake of your ambition. What was it about weed that was hurting your ambition to begin with?

Dude, shit, man, when you smoke weed, there are several different ways financially. Depends on how much you’re spending on weed. The same amount of money that I’m spending on weed, I can spend on something else. And my whole style and persona, you know, skinny jeans and the biker jacket, I can’t buy that if I’m buying weed. I’m just trying to live for my ambition, man. And, you know, this medicinal weed is super duper strong. People love the way that this next level weed is made, but it’s for people who are really fucking sick out here. You know what I saying? And I realized that I shouldn’t be taking advantage of medicinal because I’m not sick. Thank God I’m not sick. I’m able, I’m up, and mobile. I’m doing the most and I just don’t think that weed is worth my time right now. I would love to smoke weed if I’m celebrating or need to go to sleep, but I’m trading it in right now, at this moment. To have more value than smoking weed.

Since you stopped smoking, what gives you ambition now?

Well, I wake up early and I’m not spending 30 minutes to roll backwood, or roll up and sit there smiling with a bunch of other weedheads. The most important thing that you can do is be motivated. If that works for you, then let’s see what you have, see what you want, and let’s see if weed helps you get what you want out of life. That is the equation, and to me, when I started cutting out weed, I started doing a lot. Because when I was high, I wasn’t sitting and trying to do anything or thinking about marketing strategies. I get that people use it when they’re stressed out. Everybody gets stressed out if you’ve got two arms and two legs, but this game is stressful. The higher you go up, the more stressful it gets, so that means the higher you go up, the more weed you will have to buy. The more finances that you will spend. So understand that you just have to chalk it up to the game, put on a helmet, don’t smoke a bowl, and just get in the game, man. You can’t fall for this shit. It’s almost like a government thing. Don’t believe in it. Weed is illegal, but kinda legal. If you get caught, you gotta pay a medicard, you gotta pay the government…they are brainwashing you. They don’t care. They are brainwashing you to pay for the medicard and pay for weed. They get paid off that too, and so, it’s like it doesn’t matter. You might as well just keep your money, keep your dollar, keep your black dollar in your pocket instead of smoking and getting high because of some stress. You can meditate, pray to Jesus, or whatever you have to do get rid of that stress. 

originally photographed by @ukcameragod

Can you explain what the Twerk Mobile is and what plans you have for it? That is if you’d like to share. I know earlier, you said you don’t like giving away your plans.

Oh, no, it’s just my van. I bought a van with the idea that I gotta get outta here. The costs of a new van is crazy, but I can get a bunch of people touring, so I was like “Fuck it. Buy a van.” Found a van. Very cheap. Picked it up and just started working on it. Went to get a paint job, $500 for a paint job. I’m like “goddamn, man, this shit is expensive.” I was just like let’s just do it. People already know it’s going to look crappy and stuff. Like, it doesn’t matter, man. As long as we got wheels, we’re blessed out here. And with the Twerk Mobile, bro, I just needed to get around. I’m trying to get out for Detroit for the winter, because the way that the snow blows down here, I’m trying to go south and do some stuff. As long as it serves it’s purpose, I don’t care what it looks like. I’m not trying to be a millionaire tomorrow, man, but I’m trying to be a billionaire when I’m 50 or some shit like that. The humble beginnings, they start now. Later on, I’ll have what I want because I’m saving. But yeah, the Twerk Mobile is coming soon and it’s going to be hitting the south so we can keep spreading the Twerkgod brand. This game is fun. I love this game.

Is there anywhere in particular that you want to take the Twerk Mobile?

Miami, Atlanta, LA, nowhere too specific, but I’ll take it anywhere. As long as it’s warm. These winters in Michigan are too cool. 

Going back to your music, I’m just curious, what is more important to you: making music that’s better than what you put out before or music that’s better than your competition?

I like to know what my competition does. I think it’s better than what you put out before, and [it’s important] to keep people around in your circle and if they listen to all of your music and you end up showing them a song and they say “this is crazy,” and you have a project, show it to them like “hey, what do you think about this project?” And they say “hey, the last project was better,” maybe you need to start over. So I would say my old music, or just listening to music. Because music has changed now. It can change all at once, but as long as my song is in there getting played the most, then kudos to me, but I think I wanna have stuff that’s better than my previous stuff. But in the competitive nature, yeah, who doesn’t wanna be the best? So I guess, like, both. 

Before we end this interview, is there anything you’d like to promote that you’d like people to know? Like new music or a tour coming up?

Man, I got shows, and shows, and shows coming up. I feel like there’s so many shows that it’s unfair to promote just one show. I got parties coming up. Everything’s crazy. Just make sure you cop anything that says Evan the Twerkgod on it or Twerkgod on it. That’s all that matters. Or Piranha Gang. If it says Evan the Twerkgod, Twerkgod, or Piranha Gang, make sure you wear it. And you can follow me @Evanthetwerkgod on every platform. Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus. Everything! Just follow Evan the Twerkgod and stay updated so you can see everything we’re doing. If you don’t wanna come, that’s up to you, man. I’m not pressuring anybody, but know my intentions I’m trying to put on. Games, fun, just being here, I’m having fun, so I would love you guys to stop by so we can do something great.

originally photographed by @ukcameragod

Listen to Evan the Twerkgod’s Too Blessed album here.

Listen to the Evan/Oba Rowland collab tape, Don’t Have Sex with Rappers, here.

Listen to the Evan/Hotel Seprino collab project, Beach Trap 17′ here.

Where to find Evan the Twerkgod: Soundcloud Twitter Instagram Facebook Website Shop Site Spotify – Google+