Chicago is known for many things, but my favorite thing about the city has to be the music. We are the birthplace of some of the most iconic musical artists of all time in every genre imaginable. The rap game is a competitive world, but 24-year-old rapper Pharroh Afternoon, also known as Jayvaughn Benson, is doing everything he can to not only be on the list of Chicago music legends, but to make himself a household name.
TrueStar.Life: How was your childhood growing up in Englewood?
Pharroh Afternoon: I hate to even talk about where I grew up because everybody always says the same thing. I was surrounded by violence and temptation, but my older cousin Maurice made sure I knew that I could not be a product of my environment. To keep me occupied I played basketball.
TSL: What was the thought process coming up with your rap name?
PA: As a child my mother nicknamed me Pharroh because she said I was king, hence the meaning of the word. The funny story behind “Afternoon” is that I faithfully woke up after 12pm growing up.
TSL: When did you discover that you could rap?
PA: I was 11 years old when I actually made my first song with the help of my sister Royalty who is also an artist. But I took a break until 2013 when Blake asked me to do a verse on his song called “Don’t Feel You.” I used to write poetry to impress the girls I went to school with, but I wasn’t confident in my writing abilities even being a published poet at such a young age.
TSL: You are a graduate of an HBCU, why did you attend college instead of pursuing your music career after high school?
PA: I never viewed college as a necessary step to achieving my dreams, nor did I feel like I needed a “Plan B” if my music career didn’t take off. Blake was attending Alcorn State and I knew he could help me move my music career forward so I left my job as a package handler for UPS and moved to Mississippi. I gained fraternity brothers, a bachelors in accounting and many great memories.
TSL: What is your style of creating music? Do you prefer writing down your lyrics or just going fresh off the dome?
PA: I go into the studio for four-hour sessions with two songs already written down and then the last two hours I listen to a beat and then write the bars down for the last two songs. The songs I take with me mean the most to me. The other just be something for my fans.
TSL: Recently you were verified on spotify and listed #42 on the Top 100 Chicago Rappers list by @JPDigitalTV. How do these accolades make you feel?
PA: I submitted a request to be a verified artist on spotify and when it was accepted I was proud of myself. Being No. 42 on that list means a lot to even be on it, but I plan on being No. 1.
TSL: What is next for you and your career?
PA: Coming soon is new music on all platforms, a few performances that I will release and talk more about very soon, and some entrepreneur ventures.
TSL: What are your favorite things about Chicago?
PA: My favorite things are most definitely the food, downtown culture, and our party scenes.
You can find Pharroh Afternoon’s music on Spotify, Apple Music, SoundCloud and YouTube. To keep up with his latest projects follow him on Instagram @ gso_pharroh.
By Brenae Scott, Alcorn State University Alumni
[email protected] iam_illinoize