Davon Hill, also known as ‘FreshPrinceYuup,’ is a YouTuber, video game reviewer, anime enthusiast, and entrepreneur originally from Chicago, Illinois. He moved to Northern California to attend college in 2010, studying game design and marketing, before transitioning to Southern California and settling in San Diego. After building an internet following with the help of video hosting sites like WorldStarHipHop and YouTube, he is poised to make a name for himself in the gaming community with a newly-launched review channel—but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
I sat down with FreshPrinceYuup in order to give One West readers the inside scoop on his extremely diverse and hilarious YouTube content, as well as some more in-depth background on his come-up in the industry. Here’s our conversation, transcribed for your enjoyment:
1. How smooth was your transition from Chicago to California? What was your first impression of San Francisco?
So, I wanted change from Chicago. I wanted a new scene. I had just recently broke up with my girlfriend, so there was nothing really holding me back from leaving Illinois. Luckily for me, school recruiters from Academy Art University flew in from San Francisco. I went to go meet with them in downtown Chicago with my pops. After meeting for about an hour, I already knew this was it. I had to go to this school for something I was passionate about and experience California for the first time.
Now fast forward to going to San Francisco—I had never been on a plane before and I was going there by myself, so I was high-key scared. I got on the plane; I got a window seat next to this older couple; I slept through most of the plane ride, but when I woke up, I had a real good conversation with that couple. Toward the end of the convo, finally getting in the Bay Area—that’s when the turbulence started hitting. Boy, I’m over here trippin’, thinkin’ this is it—I’m finna die. I was getting these cold sweats. The lady’s husband leaned over and said, “You don’t look so good…” and hands me a bag. I’m ready to just projectile vomit all over the plane. At one point, I had to control my breathing and just ‘whoo-sah’ that joint until we landed.
By now, the couple knew I was going to school and they offered to drive me there from the airport. I just knew they weren’t from Chicago, because no random couple is gonna be picking up any dude and taking him anywhere. But I was trying to capitalize on not paying for a cab or Uber. So, they rented this SUV and started driving, and at this point I text my mom that we landed and I’m driving with this couple. She started trippin’ trippin’—like, “they gonna kidnap you and sell your body parts,” blah-blah-blah. I’m like, “Mama, they don’t want these problems or these hands; they cool peoples!” So, they drop me off at school and I get to the registration for my loft the school was providing, and they tell me they don’t have enough room; that the school is over-crowded, so they gotta figure something out. It was one of those moments when I broke the fourth wall and looked directly into the camera… So, school rented out the top floor of The Holiday Inn by the wharf, and for my first semester I stayed in a hotel, living lavish—one of the craziest first impressions I’ve ever had.
2. Wow, what a beautiful introduction! Okay, so, what did you learn transitioning from NorCal to SoCal?
I came to Northern California hella naive. I thought, basically, all of California had Southern California weather. So, when I finally moved to San Diego, I was in paradise. But, another thing I learned is that people from the Bay Area reminded me more of people from Chicago, so I felt more at home and related to more people. San Diego reminded me of the movie Clueless, with how some people carry themselves. Everybody bougie out here (laughs)
3. Is there anything you miss about Chicago? What don’t you miss?
I miss the food. Nobody is seeing Chicago’s food at all. We pretty much well diverse in everything. I came out here to have In-n-Out. People hype that up to the ends of the earth. I was so disappointed. It’s just a basic burger and their fries taste like the Sunday newspaper. And making it animal style ain’t really helping their case. Now, Chicago has Portillo’s. They got burgers, Italian beefs, hotdogs—the works. In-n-Out not even on the radar, if we comparing the two. Luckily, there’s a Portillo’s up in Orange County that’s worth the drive.
I also miss the city itself. Despite all the negative stuff you hear in the news, we have one of the dopest cities. There’s so much to do and see. Summertime Chi is one of the best times to see our skyline. It’s just a different vibe out there. One thing I don’t miss is those big, dumb mosquitoes. I don’t really have that struggle living in San Diego.
4. Okay, perfect. Now, I gotta ask… Where did the name ‘Fresh Prince Yuup’ come from?
It’s funny you ask, because most of my fans don’t even know this answer… On Halloween, years ago, me and my friends all dressed up and headed to Northern Illinois University. I dressed up as The Fresh Prince. My outfit was pretty legit too. It was like the intro and the first episode, when he just got out the cab in Bel Air. We weren’t old enough to drink, but we had Hennessy, Hpnotiq, and Patron on deck. We went to a party and, of course, somebody got in a fight. We thought somebody was gonna air that place out, so we ran and the cops came. We were out by then and just walking down the street when three squad cars pulled up deep and stopped us. We still had the alcohol in our bags and they confiscated everything. I didn’t even get to open the Patron yet—that hurt. But, since we were underage, we were gonna get cited. Their supervisor came and started asking us questions about the fight. Then, he got up to me and said, “Are you supposed to be The Fresh Prince?” And the cop next to him laughed and before I could answer said “Yuup!” really loudly. All of a sudden, both of them in unison start saying, “In West Philadelphia born-and-raised…” I look around confused and laughing all nervous, but then I find myself singing it with them. At this point, everyone is looking at us sing the theme song. But, what gets me is, the supervisor knew the [extended] version—I was like, uhh… I don’t know all that! (laughs) After we were done, he let us all go, but they kept the liquor! Ever since then, it’s been FreshPrinceYuup!
5. Man, what a crazy origin story. That’s great. Alright, now, I noticed that your bio said you often get mistaken for Chance the Rapper. Do you appreciate the comparison? Why or why not?
(Laughs) I wouldn’t say ‘mistaken,’ but, people always say I look like him. I get it every day. I don’t mind, though; even my dad thinks we look alike. [He] says it’s probably his other son… (chuckles)
6. Did you hear his newest album, The Big Day? What did you think of it?
Yeah, I did. I’ve actually been listening to it all week. Just got done listening to “Get A Bag” and “Hot Shower” before this interview. I really like Chance’s style. Some people can’t get into him, and I understand that, but his old music and his new stuff are good to me—I can’t say that for a lot of artists. He always got some bops.
7. On a related note, I always have to ask my interviewees about their Top 5 MCs. Who are the GOATs in your book?
Man, off-top, now this is… for me, because I related to them the most… J. Cole and Lupe Fiasco. J. Cole because I related to his college and life experiences, even up to his adulthood, now. And Lupe, being that nerd from Chicago—He’s one of the main reasons I call my fans “Cool Nerdz.” Now, for the other three: Kanye; Wayne; and Method Man.
8. We also know that a large part of your early success came as a result of being featured on WorldStarHipHop. Can you give us a quick breakdown of the timeline of those events, and what WSHH means to you?
My first video I ever did was my second year in college, in San Francisco. I got an apartment with my friend and decided I wanted to film a video relating to the trending topic at the time: “things people say.” You know, like, ‘things your parents say,’ ‘things teachers say,’ and so on… I was heavy into Twitter and wanted to do ‘Things people say on Twitter.’ I had no furniture in my house and didn’t even know how to edit. I had my friend film me saying like fifty different phrases around the house and even in front of my building. That night, I looked up some tutorials on basic editing and uploaded the video to YouTube. The next day my video was on WorldStarHipHop and uploaded by Q (founder of WSHH). I couldn’t believe it! After that, about ten more of my videos got on WorldStar, which definitely helped me build an audience.
9. Do you frequent WSHH? If so, what are your go-to video categories?
To be honest, I really don’t anymore. But, when I did, I just used to go one there for the fight compilations (laughs).
10. Back to your YouTube Channel—I wanted to mention your “About” section; I noticed that you referenced “genjutsu”… How big of a fan are you of Naruto, or animes in general?
I’m a big fan of Naruto, I even have a naruto tattoo on my forearm, right here, and Kakashi over here. This whole sleeve on my right arm is protagonists from some of my favorite animes and video games. Once I start my left sleeve, that’s gonna be all anti-heroes and villains.
Anime is one of my favorite things to watch. They have some of the dopest concepts and storylines. It’s not all Naruto, Bleach, and DBZ (Dragon Ball Z). A lot of animes have better stories than Netflix orginals. I’ve put people on to anime who’ve said they would never watch it. People just need to be more open-minded.
11. Can you give us a top five favorite animes/cartoons?
I’m not even gonna throw DBZ, Naruto, or Bleach in there, ‘cause that’s a given. My top five would have to be: Hunter × Hunter, Claymore, Death Note, Attack on Titan, and [The] Seven Deadly Sins. Also, right now, I’m currently watching Demon Slayer, Dr. Stone, Black Clover, Fire Force, and probably some others I can’t even think of right now (laughs).
12. You also just launched your gaming channel. I know it would probably be almost impossible to name a top five for a true gamer, but can you give us an idea of which games you like to play/review the most?
To be honest, most of my favorite games are old RPGs on the original PlayStation. Legend of Dragoon, Legend of Legaia, Star Ocean: The Second Story, Final Fantasy VII, and Chrono Cross come to mind. Besides FF7, I don’t think any of those other games will be remade any time soon, if at all—and I want that to happen real bad. Me and Ninja, the Fortnite streamer, talked on Twitter about how a remake for Legend of Legaia needs to happen.
13. Awesome, that’s a great list. Okay, so, your fans will probably be familiar with your reactions to horror games, but are you also interested in horror movies? If so, which ones would you recommend to someone like me, who has never even seen The Exorcist from start to finish…
What! you don’t like scary movies? Horror movies are my favorite genre. Can’t wait for IT 2. I watch them all, I don’t care how poorly-made or cheesy most of them are. I really like the point of view of scary movies like The Blair Witch Project. It adds a sense of realism. But hmm… if I could recommend some scary movies… and, this is just my opinion… you can’t go wrong with the Paranormal Activity series. The Ring was good too. And this one isn’t out yet but it will be soon: Candyman. Now, they have an old one, which scared me as a kid; but the new one is gonna be produced by Jordan Peele, so I’m def looking forward to that. To this day, I won’t say “candyman” in the mirror three times… (chuckles)
14. Alright, I’ll have to check some of those out. Now, I also know that you went to school for video game design… What was that like? Do you ever plan on creating your own full-length original?
I studied game design for two years before I ended up switching and getting my degree in marketing and focusing on YouTube. I had an idea for an open-world RPG. Maybe in the future I can drop that idea on someone and bring it to fruition.
15. Sweet, I’ll be looking forward to that. Alright, closing up here, 50 Million views is quite a feat for an up-&-coming YouTuber; what’s the next step in your continued success with your channels?
I wanna keep growing and working with other YouTubers more. I eventually want to get my own official series. And with all that success, I wanna put the people on who supported me along the way.
16. Okay, wow, that’s generous. And lastly, where can One West readers find you online?