Chicago's Own Pretty P.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009 09:35 Written by  Ebony L. Morman

For years, the music industry has associated Chicago with some of the greats. R. Kelly, Kanye West, Common and Twista, just to name a few. All of these artists have either played a part in putting Chicago on the map or made sure the city stayed there. But it’s a new year, which calls for something new. This year, something new comes in the form of a 5-foot, 24-year-old “rapprist” who is never short on words. She’s known to those who are close to her as Portia Morgan, but to the rest of the world, she is Pretty P. Either way, this outgoing, up-and-coming female rapper is ready to play her part in maintaining Chicago’s reputation for producing some of the most talented people in the industry.

Hold on a second, it’s not all about the fame for Pretty P. Yes, it’s cool to have hood fame and have everyone know you in the streets. Yes, it’s even better to hear your own single, “Monkey Poppin,” on local radio stations as you drive down Lake Shore Drive. Yes, it’s a pleasure to perform at shows and hear the crowd recite your lyrics. All of the above is just find and dandy, but Pretty P points out that rapping is just a short-term goal.

As a junior at Chicago State University majoring in criminal justice, she’s already planning bigger things for her career in music and her career in criminal justice.

“I plan on having my own studio/dance hall where I will help to inspire artists and get the business side of things together,” she says. “It’s mainly for my African American people and helping them get on the road by teaching them the business aspect.”

Even though rapping is a short-term goal until she is sitting in her corner office at a law firm, rapping is still a priority to her at this time. For nine years, Pretty P has been writing/rapping and just like most artists, she attributes her inspiration to the greats: Tupac and the Notorious B.I.G. That’s where the similarities between her and other artists end, she says.

In a world filled with aspiring rappers, she still feels like she sets herself apart from the pack.

“Most rappers when you hear them, you know it’s them because you know their style, flow or a familiar beat,” she says. “With me, on each and every song, I come with a different flow or a different style depending on the beat.”

If Pretty P’s unique style isn’t enough to distinguish her, she feels that her honesty will.

“I don’t portray something that I am not,” she admits. “I don’t rap about nothing I don’t know about, that I haven’t done or that I will not do.”

Pretty P’s process of laying down a track in the studio may differ greatly from rapper Lil’ Wayne, who has been known to never write any lyrics, but her way works for her. Depending on the song, she may write prior to hitting the studio, but she prefers to listen to a beat beforehand, so when she gets there, she can vibe on the thoughts already in her head. Her way seems to speed up the writing process tremendously, considering she only spends 15 minutes of her hour-long studio session writing a verse.

“I believe rapping is a natural gift, because you have to be able to take your words and transform them so that other people can feel where you are coming from,” she says.

Her words tell her story and show that her childhood has had some ups and downs. She admits that Chicago is no rougher than any other city and that she has learned to take the good with the bad and the pretty with the ugly.

Family has always kept her going and unlike some African American youths, Pretty P was blessed with having both parents involved in her life. To this day, family is the most important aspect of her life.

“Without family, you don’t have a foundation,” she says. “Without a foundation, you don’t have nothing.”

Yet she admits that being a woman may be one of her biggest obstacles because the odds are stacked against women in general, not just in the music industry. Women have come a long way, but it still remains a male-dominated world.

“When a female comes along with skills, they get intimidated,” she says. “They also try to use females as sex symbols besides just giving us an equal opportunity.”

Even with all that in mind, Pretty P has a story to tell with her words and she believes it’s worth listening to.

“Either you gone feel me or you not, but you have no choice but to respect me,” she says. “I’m going to demand my respect.”

Find Pretty P. on Myspace and Facebook.


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Ebony L. Morman

Ebony L. Morman

GMO's Senior Editor Ebony L. Morman received her B.A. in journalism from Northern Illinois University and her master’s in journalism from Columbia College Chicago. The Chicago-native enjoys writing about almost anything, but since she also has a passion for music, writing reviews of albums has become one of her favorite past times. Aside from GMO, Ebony freelances for a variety of publications and volunteers in her community.

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