Remembering DJ P Lee Fresh
Written by Jesse De La Peña on December 9, 2021
This week we lost an incredibly talented artist, musician and entrepreneur, DJ P Lee Fresh.
To say that Parker Lee Williams, AKA “P Lee Fresh,” of the hip-hop group Mental Giants was a pioneer with major influence on Chicago’s early hip-hop scene would be a major understatement.
Parker was one of Chicago’s early graffiti writers and hip-hop DJs. You could catch him spinning on WNUR 89.3 FM back in the early ’80s, and his hip-hop parties at north side club Stepps were legendary. He, along with a handful of other New York transplants, was instrumental in bringing hip-hop to Chicago. Around the same time, house music and gang culture were making an impression on the city’s youth — especially in his far north side neighborhood of Rogers Park, or “the Upper North East Side,” as he would say.
For folks that may not have known of Parker Lee and are fans of our city’s vibrant hip-hop scene, he and a handful of other people are responsible for many things we take for granted. He championed the music and culture at a time when it wasn’t easy or safe to do.
Here is an interview I did with him and Akbar of Mental Giants just before Vocalo’s Winter Block Party and Blue Groove Lounge 25-Year Reunion at the Metro in February 2020. We talked about the early days, moving to Chicago from New York, early graffiti crews, Chicago gangs, Jamalski, how hip-hop has changed over the years — plus the Winter Block Party and Blue Groove Reunion.
Written by Jesse De La Peña
Edited by Morgan Ciocca
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