In the past three years, no other act in hip-hop has controlled the stage, radio or clubs like
the trio Travis Porter with their hysteric causing anthems. 21 year old Atlanta natives Lakeem
“Ali” Mattox, Donquez “Quez” Woods and Harold “Strap” Duncan have solidified themselves
as rap’s leaders of the new school, feeding fans with an endless barrage of hit singles and
self-released mixtape bangers such as “Black Boy White Boy,” “Waffle House,” “Get Naked”
“Go Shorty Go” and their career turning last three monsters “Make it Rain” “Bring It Back”
and “Ayy Ladies.”
All the hype from the music critics, all the love from the fans and all the group’s hard work
all culminates on May 29 with the release of their debut LP From Day 1 on their own
“The title expresses all of our feelings,’ Ali says. “This album is dedicated to everybody—the
fans, the DJs, the media--who have supported us, especially those who were there from the
very beginning. Those people mean everything to us.”
“When we say From Day 1, we want all the fans to know that this project is our album,” Strap
reinforces. “It’s just as much about our fans as it is the members of Travis Porter.”
Strap, Quez and Ali have been together with each other almost from day one of their lives.
“For real, I think of us as like a family,” Quez explains. “Ali is my stepbrother, I’ve been
knowing him since the third grade. And Strap, I’ve known him since the sixth grade. I’ve
basically known these guys for as long as I can remember. I can’t imagine my life without
them in it.”
The trio began making music together as adolescences and in 2007, under the moniker “Dem
Hard Hiddaz,” put out music in the streets and strip clubs.
“Shout outs to Ali’s momma,” Strap says with a chuckle. “She had a couple of plugs to get us
in there. But the feeling of being 16, 17 performing in the strip club, was so surreal. We were
performing a hot song late at night, but we still had to go school early the next morning.
We’d go to school with all these ones in our pocket. We’d tell our classmates ‘boy, you don’t
know what we did last night!’ We were making the music the strippers loved.”
In 2008, the three friends changed their named to “Travis Porter” as a nifty way to catch
people’s attention. It worked. The buzz started growing as more of their music surfaced.
Ironically, some fans at first thought “Travis Porter” was just one person instead of a group.
All speculation was soon settled as the guys would find one of their strongest platforms of
building their fan base; through the internet via hip-hop blogs, YouTube and their own
website www.wearetravisporter.com. Viral music videos and footage of their live shows would
grow Travis Porter a legion of fans dubbed the “Differenter Gang.”
Successful self-released mixtapes I’m A Differenter and its sequel both dropped in 2009 as did
their heat building first tape Who Is Travis Porter. Over the last three years, Travis Porter
have dropped around a dozen free self-released mixtapes spawning a slew of hit songs, all
searing speakers across the country.
“It’s funny because some of our fans think From Day 1 is our second or third album,” Quez
says, “but it’s just our first. We just gave away a lot of free music to build our brand and
display our consistency. We approached making each mixtape like making a LP. The mixtapes
had singles that had videos and got play on the radio and they felt like actual albums. Even
though our careers are relatively new, we’ve been able to build one of the best track records
“Really, we always let the fans decide our singles,” Strap revealed. “We’ve been catching
hits off of mixtapes. It’s lovely, but sometimes you don’t expect it and have to catch up to
the song. The album is definitely going to show a lot of growth from our mixtapes though.”
“We’ve been working on the album for about a year and a half to make sure it’s perfect for a
while,” Ali began to detail. “After we dropped our last mixtape, we were focused. We were
gonna drop another mixtape and it came to the point where we just said ‘we gotta show
This year, Porter got off to a running start with the club killer “Ayy Ladies.”
“The song ‘Ayy Ladies’ is really a slick way of promoting women empowerment,” Strap
describes of their mega release. “‘Ayy ladies, if you know you bad, got your own man/ Got
your own bands/ Then put up your hands/ If you a top notch chick, let me hear you holla.’
We’re talking about the ladies who are the independent chicks, the top notch chicks who be
in the club buying their own bottles. Got their own money. We’re talking about those chicks.”
“Ayy Ladies” is a collaboration with another of hip-hop’s leading emerging superstars, Lil’
Wayne’s protégé and Young Money signee Tyga.
“We did another record with Tyga called ‘Down Low,’ on one of our previous mixtapes,” Quez
explained of how the new song partnership came about. “When we shot the video, people
was like ‘Travis Porter and Tyga, we never thought about that. It’s a good combination.’ We
had to drop another one. We recorded ‘Ayy Ladies’ and decided we needed a MC from the
West Coast on there. Tyga was taking over the West Coast at the time, with his album
dropping. We sent it to him; he was like ‘I got y’all.’”
“It took him four months to get it back to us,” Ali laughs adding on the story. “But we got it
though. We didn’t expect for it to be our biggest record, it surprised even us.”
Last year, Travis Porter broke through to the masses with consecutive heart stoppers “Make It
Rain” and “Bring It Back” The hunger you hear on the records, were indicative of the group’s
meager but charming recording facilities at the time.
“We made those songs in the closet,” Ali tells, smiling as he reminisces on how far he and his
group have come in a short time. “It wasn’t even in a studio. It really was actually a closet.
We did ‘Bring It Back First,’ went to the club and came back and made ‘Make It Rain.’ It was
my birthday. It was a magical day. We knew those records would go out of the stratosphere
because they were inspired by the club. We just recreated that feeling in the studio.”
On From Day 1, Travis Porter worked with producers Diplo, Jim Johnson and J.U.S.T.I.C.E.
League among other producers. Guest stars include the aforementioned Tyga, 2 Chainz, Mike
Posner, Mac Miller and Jeremih, who sings on the album’s latest single “Ride Like That.”
“‘Ride Like That,’ is just one of those great records where we have a great time,” Strap tells.
“Jeremih loves the ladies and they love him. We have a fantastic rapport with the women as
well, you can’t beat this combination.”
The fellas follow-up the mood with vibrating thump in “That Feeling” which celebrates the
spoils of their success. Of course the Porter collective continue to supply the soundtrack for
throwing the dollars at the dancers on the poles with “Flood That Shit.” On the latter, they
shout out all the top strip clubs across the country from Magic City in Atlanta to King of
Diamonds in Miami.
This summer, Strap, Quez and Ali all head on the road for a headlining tour called “No Sleep
Till Atlanta.” Evidence of why they have been tapped as one of the best live acts in rap will
be on full display.
“We do every show like we are playing game 7 of a NBA championship series,” Quez affirmed.
“Performing is so important and we just love to go wild. The fans get crazy too. Sometimes
ladies get on stage and get naked, but hey, it is all good. Lose your cool and your clothes if
In between dropping their album and readying the tour, Travis Porter will also be working on
a yet-to-be-titled film and continuing to cultivate acts off of their Porter House record label.
“We look at artists such as Diddy and Rick Ross who are building their empires. We are trying
to do the same thing. Our business is a heavy focus, but luckily there are three of us so we
can all divide up responsibilities. At the end of the day though, we are going to continue to
hone our craft and keep making everybody that believed in us from day one proud.”