The story of David Porter’s ascent to hip-hop royalty began in middle school when his family moved from Baltimore to Bowie, Md.
He got a job as a paperboy for the Bowie Blade-News, a job Porter enjoyed with his younger brother. Porter was named “Paperboy of the Month” three months in a row. It was at this time in his life that he was crowned Paperboy Prince of the Suburbs, and he has proudly worn that crown ever since.
Now, the 23-year-old’s talent spans much farther than the paper route.
Today, he is a performing artist whose music, dance and personality is known at this university, throughout the DMV, the East Coast and in nations abroad.
Paperboy Prince of the Suburbs, who describes his music as “Soulja Boy meets ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic meets Nelson Mandela,” first appeared on the Internet in 2006, when he released “Mcdonalds rap ( im throwed beat)” on YouTube. The “silly remix video” went viral, earning 300,000 views in less than a year and some serious popularity for the small town rapper, whose musical influences include old-school Nickelodeon television shows, “Barney,” the circus, and “every person all over the world,” he said.
Porter enrolled at this university as a journalism major in 2012. The young artist started freestyling with UMD Undergrounduates, a hip-hop club on campus, and, by the end of the year, he had released not only his first single but also his very first mixtape.
Porter took his talents to Spain for the next year. During his time abroad, he said that he learned a lot about fashion and style and picked up several instruments (guitar, bongos, etc.) to add to his act.
The majority of his time abroad, however, was spent performing on the streets of the beach town he was living in. He attracted several promoters who invited him to perform at more than 50 shows around Spain, Paris, Rome and Amsterdam during his time in Europe.
“When I did these shows, I had these fans who would come out because they already knew me. They would see me every Friday night street performing, ” Porter said.
By the end of 2013, Porter realized that his European fanbase may very well outnumber his American admirers; he recalled walking down the street and encountering people who would ask him to rap for them.
“People who don’t even speak the same language knew all about my music and even about songs I hadn’t even released yet,” he said. “That was just such an inspirational time for me and [it] showed me how much potential I have going forward.”
Porter continued making parody videos and performing upon returning to America in June 2014. He now performs at least two shows a week at venues throughout the DMV. Over the past few months he has landed gigs at Six Flags and Howard University’s Homecoming, performing with artists like Wale and Rae Sremmurd.
Though he is taking time off from classes to focus on his music, Porter is still musically involved at this university.
He is the lead singer of The Hip-Hop Orchestra, a campus group that combines instruments like violins, violas and other classic instruments with hip-hop. The group, which he anticipates is going to be “really big,” performs both original songs and popular covers.
Porter also hosts HIPHOP YOGA, an experimental hip-hop show that he created while in Spain and brought back with him to this university, at WMUC 88.1 every week. The show, which he said is one of the top college radio shows on the East Coast, consists of an eclectic array of artists, drum circles, live dance and, of course, yoga on Thursday nights from 8 to 11 p.m.
As the end of 2014 draws to a close, Paperboy Prince of the Suburbs is enthusiastic about the direction his career is taking him.
“Paperboy is about to take over the world through art and music and use that positive influence to affect change forever,” he said.
Daphne Pellegrino is a sophomore journalism major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.